Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Coincidences or Signs from God?


Dear Parishioners,

For the past two years I have attended priest conferences given by the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. This year I also plan to attend. Priests gather from all parts of the country to listen to talks on the Sacred Scriptures, to pray together, to offer Mass together and to socialize at a resort in Lakeway, Texas (near Austin). We have the privilege of hearing from Dr. Scott Hahn, Dr. John Bergsma, Dr. Edward Sri, and others who bring great insight to the Scriptures and Catholic theology. By having attended these annual workshops, my hope is that my preaching and teaching from the pulpit each week has become more informative and inspiring.

Coincidentally, my first full day in Texas is also the day of the total solar eclipse which will be seen in the early afternoon as the path is directly over us! Moreover, the day is also celebrated as the Solemnity of the Annunciation of Our Lord (transferred from March 25th because it fell in Holy Week). Let me say that it should be rather interesting to be in Texas during this time.

The Sunday after Easter (this weekend) has been designated as Divine Mercy Sunday.

On April 30, 2000 (Divine Mercy Sunday of that year), Pope St. John Paul II canonized St. Maria Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament and designated the Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday.

According to the notebooks of Saint Faustina, Jesus made the following statements about this day:

On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. (Diary of Saint Faustina, 699)

Devotion to Divine Mercy is also associated with an image painted as Jesus wished, based on descriptions by Saint Faustina. The words that accompany the image are "Jesus, I trust in Thee" ("Jezu, Ufam Tobie" in Polish). The rays coming from Jesus' body represent the Blood and Water that poured forth from the wound He suffered when pierced by the lance.

The devotion is practiced by praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet and Novena to the Divine Mercy—both of which may be prayed at any time, but especially at "The Hour of Great Mercy" – 3:00 PM, the hour our Lord died, and in conjunction with Divine Mercy Sunday. You can find out more about these topics by going to the website for the Marians of the Immaculate Conception (marian.org).

I find it particularly interesting that after working to promote devotion to the Divine Mercy and even writing an encyclical about God’s Mercy — Dives in Misericordia or Rich in Mercy (1980) — Pope St. John Paul II died during the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday in 2005.

Was this just another coincidence or truly an indication of the hand of God continually at work in our world? 

With all that is happening throughout the globe today, we all need to say and believe: Jesus I trust in Thee!

Fr. Ed Namiotka


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