It was very gratifying to see so many of our people returning to join the Church services in person. The Easter Masses saw the biggest crowds since the pandemic began. Thanks be to God for the greater sense of a return to normalcy. We continue to pray that the new life and new hope from the Risen Christ will bring more blessings and a total freedom from the pandemic even as we are conscious of the need to take reasonable precautions.
Do you know why Sundays after Easter are named 2nd Sunday of Easter, 3rd Sunday of Easter, etc.? Easter is such a foundational feast of our faith, which the Church continues to celebrate it for about seven weeks. The power of Easter has transformed the face of the earth as believers began to increase and Christianity began to spread all over the world. It is unbelievable but true that after the preaching of Peter: “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day.” (Acts 2:41). Besides the preaching of the apostles, the early Christians themselves were the best missionaries to their own neighbors and friends, sharing the power of the Resurrected Jesus to bring about change in hearts. It still continues to happen in our own times.
We have a wonderful opportunity to refocus our call to be missionaries to our own people. Next month we will kick off the 60th anniversary celebrations of our parish with the 5 pm Mass on May 14, on the feast of St. Matthias, our patron. The Celebration Committee has been working hard to focus on some practical events to make this anniversary year fruitful in many ways, especially spiritually and socially. But I like to ask each one of us to consider how we can imitate the early Christians who were so enthusiastic about bringing others to Jesus.
How do we do that? We can follow the advice of Pope Francis, whose approach to mission might be characterized as a “missiology of attraction.” He wants us to draw people to Jesus by way of attraction, not by proselytizing, or imposing our faith. And he reminds us that the attractive message is contained in the merciful love of God. When the church makes the mercy of God real by becoming an inclusive church, a church where saints and sinners are welcome, then more people will be drawn to Jesus.
Today is Divine Mercy Sunday – a feast instituted by St. John Paul II, in order to realize the depth of the mercy of God for each one of us personally. Sister Faustina who had revelations about this desire from Jesus wrote the words of Jesus in her diary entry # 206: “On the day of My feast, the Feast of Mercy, you will go through the whole world and bring fainting souls to the spring of My mercy. I shall heal and strengthen them”.
May the Risen Lord help us experience God’s mercy in ourselves and may He help us to offer the same mercy to others, thereby becoming true witnesses who will attract others to our church and our faith in Jesus Christ.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal