Fr Bob Writes – Divine Mercy Sunday, April 3, 2016

This Sunday we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast inaugurated by Pope St John Paul II during his papacy.  To add extra significance and depth to this celebration, we are marking it during the Year of Mercy called by John Paul II’s successor, Pope Francis.  Let us remind ourselves of some of the memorable things Pope Francis has said about God’s mercy:

God is infinite love, boundless mercy, and that Love has conquered evil at its root through the death and resurrection of Christ.  This is the Gospel, the Good News: God’s love has won!  Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose again.  With him we can fight evil and conquer every day.  Do we believe this or not?…But that “yes” has to become part of life!  If I believe that Jesus has conquered evil and saved me, I must follow along the path of Jesus for my whole life” (Address, October 4th, 2013) 

“I cannot say: I forgive my sins.  Forgiveness is asked for, is asked of another, and in confession we ask for forgiveness from Jesus.  Forgiveness is not the fruit of our own efforts but rather a gift, it is a gift of the Holy Spirit who fill us with the wellspring of mercy and of grace that flows unceasingly from the open heart of the Crucified and Risen Christ” (General Audience, February 19th, 2014).

It seems that God has been preparing us for this feast of Divine Mercy in the parishes of St Philip’s and St Clare’s for some time now.  First we had the 33 Days of Morning Glory retreat back in October/November last year.  Then Deacon Louis set up the Men of the Eucharist earlier this year.  Then Fred Schubert led us through our Lenten mission which was based on the devotion to Divine Mercy.  Now we have started the “Consoling the Heart of Jesus” retreat which is also based on the spirituality of Divine Mercy.  This has been all God’s doing- no pastoral strategy behind it from myself or Deacon Mark or Deacon Louis or the PPC!!  This is our “Now” word from God at this time: divine mercy!

So I am excited about what God is wanting us to learn from him about his mercy at this time.  Join with me in asking him to open our hearts and minds and spirits to his personal revelation to us as individuals, families and parish communities.  Remember: the mercy of God is a gift. We must approach it with humility, not a sense of entitlement.  Ask God for the humility to receive mercy in his way, not our own.  What is he calling us to do as a result of his forgiveness?”

Divine Mercy Celebration – This Sunday, April 3

Fred Schubert (who led our Lenten Mission) will be at St Philips to lead a Divine Mercy celebration. From 2:30 to 4:30, there will be adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and veneration of the Divine Mercy image.  At 3pm there will be a special recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet followed by veneration of the first class relics of St Faustina.  Join us for a special afternoon – All Welcome!

Diving Mercy Image

Fr Bob Writes – Easter Sunday March 27, 2016

As we celebrate this weekend Easter Sunday, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, it is worthwhile asking ourselves the question: what difference does this make to my life? Why should I celebrate the rising from the dead of someone 2000 years ago?

St Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 15, verses 12 – 20, after setting down the constant witness of the Church from the beginning, that Christ “died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures” then goes on to address the question posed above. He writes thus:

“Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. …If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died…”

In a nutshell, what Paul is saying here is:  if Christ has not been raised, then all of us, you and I included, are going to hell!! Our whole salvation, hope for eternal life, forgiveness of sins, our heartfelt desire that we will meet up again with our deceased loved ones in the next life, hangs on this one truth: that Christ is risen from the dead.  And if it is not true, everything that we hope for and look towards for ourselves and our loved ones, collapses like a house of cards.

So the resurrection of Christ is the fundamental truth on which our entire Catholic Christian faith is based. Christ’s resurrection is the enduring proof that God has accepted his death on the cross as a sacrifice which atones for all of the sins of the world, past, present and future. If Christ is not raised, then he died for nothing, our sins are still with us, and the “wages of sin is death,” eternal death in hell.

So as we come to Mass this weekend to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, let us understand how crucial this event is, not just for ourselves, but for the whole world. And let nothing, and no-one undermine your faith in this fact. Our whole salvation depends on it!

Happy Easter to all our parishioners!!

Fr Bob Writes – Palm Sunday, March 20, 2016

This Sunday is Palm /Passion Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week, the holiest week in the Church’s year. During this week, we will be following in the steps of Jesus, as he walks the Way of the Cross.

Below is a reflection by Pope Francis on the crucifixion, given on April 8th, 2014:

Christianity is not a philosophical doctrine, it is not a program of life that enables one to be well formed and to make peace. These are its consequences. Christianity is a person, a person lifted up on the cross. A person who emptied himself to save us. He took on sin. And so just as in the desert sin was lifted up, here God made man was lifted up for us. And all of our sins were there.

Therefore one cannot understand Christianity without understanding this profound humiliation of the Son of God, who humbled himself and made himself a servant unto death on the cross.

Thanks to the mercy of God, we glory in Christ Crucified. And that is why there is no Christianity without the Cross, and there is no Cross without Jesus Christ.”

and in a further homily, given by Pope Francis on January 19th , 2014, he stated:

“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn 1:29). The verb that is translated as “take away” literally means, “to lift up,” or “to take upon oneself.” Jesus came into the world with a precise mission: to liberate it from the slavery of sin by taking on himself the sins of mankind. How? By loving.

There is no other way to conquer evil and sin than by the love that leads to giving up one’s life for others.”

Have a wonderful and prayerful Holy Week!!