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Friday, April 16, 2004

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Easter Week

Acts 4:1-12
Psalm 118
John 21:1-14

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"blessed are the merciful" (see mt 5:7)

"Jesus came over, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This marked the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after being raised from the dead." —John 21:13-14

In the Catholic community throughout the world, this coming Sunday is called "Mercy Sunday." Many people prepare for this special day by praying for nine days beginning Good Friday, the day of ultimate mercy, the day on which we especially focus on Jesus' saving death. Jesus is "rich in mercy" (Eph 2:4). "His mercy endures forever" (Ps 136:1ff). Jesus is all-merciful.

Simon Peter is a striking example of God's mercy. He said one of the worst things you can say to Jesus by denying the necessity of the cross (Mt 16:22). Yet the Lord mercifully continued to teach and serve Peter. After bluntly denying that he would deny Christ (Lk 22:33), Peter promptly denied Him three times right before His crucifixion (Lk 22:61). However, the Lord forgave Peter again and again. The risen Jesus even came to Peter on the morning of the resurrection (Lk 24:34) and came to Peter with the apostles several other times. Then after Peter had met with the risen Christ at least three times, Peter decided to go back into the fishing business (Jn 21:3ff), although Jesus had called him out of fishing for fish to be fishing for men (see Mt 4:19).

Peter repeatedly denied Christ not only before His death but also after His resurrection. Nonetheless, Jesus had mercy on Peter, forgave him again and again, gave him the Holy Spirit, chose him to preach at the first Christian Pentecost, and made him the first pope, as well as a missionary and a martyr. Jesus gave Peter inexhaustible mercies. Be merciful as Jesus is.

Prayer:  Father, make me a missionary of mercy.

Promise:  "There is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other name in the whole world given to men by which we are to be saved." —Acts 4:12

Praise:  Praise Jesus, our risen Hope, Joy, Lord, Savior, and God! Alleluia forever!

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, October 9, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 14, 2003