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Friday, April 17, 2020

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Easter Friday

Acts 4:1-12
Psalm 118:1-2, 4, 22-27
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 "Divine 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 appeared 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).

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:  "This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it" (Ps 118:24).

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, September 24, 2020

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