Word To Life
Sunday Scripture Readings, May 1, 2011
By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service
May 1, Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday
Cycle A Readings:
1) Acts 2:42-47
Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
2) 1 Peter 1:3-9
Gospel: John 20:19-31
Father Carl was a Franciscan and a kind, gentle and pastoral sort of priest. Reading the Scriptures for this weekend, I can't help but think that he would have had a special feeling for the words of St. Peter, who refers to the "great mercy" of our God who "gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading. ... In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Father Carl, who seemed always to present a cheerful and peaceful countenance, suffered with multiple sclerosis. He did the parishioners of St. Andrew's Church a great favor in sharing his difficulties living with the disease as he addressed us from Sunday to Sunday. He did so without complaining, but simply presenting his suffering in a matter-of-fact fashion.
Many among us suffer from disease, disability, personal tragedies and family upsets. Some of these difficulties are so severe that they would knock people of lesser character and internal strength right out of the saddle.
So it was good to have Father Carl's assurances that it was possible to live a joyful life in service to God and others in the face of great suffering.
It must be that he lived by the words of Jesus as he appeared to his disciples after his resurrection. "Peace be with you," the resurrected Jesus told them in the reading from John. Only days before, he had suffered the painful humiliations of the cross. Yet, Jesus says to his disciples again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
May we all know the great mercy of God in trusting us with the message of his love, even as we go forth in our own imperfection, trusting in the hope of the Resurrection.
Have you been encouraged by the courage of others as they have overcome obstacles to living out their faith? How can you incorporate this kind of overriding faith into your own life?
SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3ab).
Copyright © 2011 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The CNS Word To Life column may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed, including but not limited to such means as framing or any other digital copying or distribution method, in whole or in part without the prior written authority of Catholic News Service.