Sunday Prayer Service
Divine Mercy Sunday
April 24, 2022
God of everlasting mercy,
who in the very recurrence
of the paschal feast
kindle the faith of the people
you have made your own,
increase, we pray,
the grace you have bestowed,
that all may grasp and rightly understand
in what font they have been washed,
by whose Spirit they have been reborn,
by whose Blood they have been redeemed.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever
Without forgiveness, there’s no future.
—Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Our sins are nothing but a grain of sand alongside the great mountain of the mercy of God.
—Saint John Vianney
Above all, attention shall be paid to the care of the sick, so that they shall be served as if they were Christ himself.
Jesus’ Resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from Earth to heaven but to colonize Earth with the life of heaven.
—N. T. Wright
Whose sins you forgive
Mercy is not shown to those who die by institutional decree, whether on the battlefield, in prison, or through social policies that make the “welfare” of the poor sound like an obscenity. But before Jesus died, mercy alone was on his lips—”Father, forgive them,” and “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” And when the Risen Lord returned, mercy was once more his agenda: “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them.” The one who was vigorously denied compassion became the one true source of hope for all in need of mercy being shown to them. To those troubled by grief or guilt, Jesus says, “Peace be with you.” To those who struggle with doubt, Jesus says, “Put your finger here, and believe.” Clearly, divine mercy isn’t meted out only to the deserving, or to those who have paid their debt to God or society in kind. Divine mercy is offered to those who need it, precisely because they need it. All we have to do is want it, ask for it, and believe it.
If we had a choice between a world governed by divine mercy or the institutional elimination of defined enemies, which would we choose? It seems many of us want both, which we demonstrate in our attitude toward capital punishment, immigration policy, military action, and social responsibility toward the marginal members of society. But the mercy of God cannot coexist with the spirit of self-righteousness, prejudice, vengeance, or indifference. If we want divine mercy, we have to repent the spirit that leads to institutional injustices in every generation.
May the strength of God sustain us;
May the power of God preserve us;
May the hands of God protect us;
May the way of God direct us;
May the love of God go with us
this day and forever.
What's in Your Heart?
"Do not be afraid.” “Peace be with you.” With these words Jesus greets John in a vision and the disciples after his Resurrection. Like other epiphanies in scripture, this greeting allays fear—the normal human reaction to such an encounter with the divine. People have always been a bit afraid to approach the holy; note how in the reading from Acts people esteemed the disciples, but at first “none of the others dared to join them.”
Have you ever been afraid to approach God? How did you overcome your fear? Did you experience mercy and forgiveness? Does it help to consider that God’s Spirit is both outside and within you, a breath of new life you have received?
The Lord's Prayer
Our Father who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
The mercy of the Lord endures forever. With hope in that mercy, we offer our prayers.
God of mercy, may the church witness to the love of God, we pray, Lord, hear our prayer.
God of mercy, may the world know peace where there is hatred and conflict, we pray, Lord, hear our prayer.
God of mercy, may all those who are ill or disturbed in body or mind find healing, we pray, Lord, hear our prayer.
God of mercy, may we as a people of faith know that our sins are forgiven, we pray, Lord, hear our prayer.
Our strength and courage are in God. With that courage we pray to and receive strength from God, through Jesus Christ, our merciful Lord.