Published on April 10, 2018

Dear Parishioners and Friends of the Sandusky Catholic Parishes,

The week after Easter, you can buy chocolate bunnies at the grocery   store and lilies at Corso’s for 50% off.  The week after Easter, you can   find a parking space and a seat in the pew in the Church much easier   than you could a week earlier.  The week after Easter, the new dress is   not brand new anymore, and the Easter Baskets for the kids have been placed back in the closet.  So here we are a week after Easter, and it seems like another special day has passed and is now put back on the shelf.

But according to the Biblical accounts, Easter is not just another day on the calendar.  Easter is the beginning of a whole new way of experiencing life and facing death.  The Church celebrates a season of Sundays reflecting on Easter, and the ways the risen Christ is still alive and active on earth through the life and witness of the Church.  The next handful of Sundays we will continue to listen to the stories of scripture as they call to reflect upon and apply the impact of Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  Like ripples continuing to come ashore long after the boat has passed, these stories will wash over us, and hopefully shed new light and inspire new heights for our journey.
Of note for us on this weekend, the weekend after Easter, is our eighth graders trekking to Toledo to Holy Rosary Cathedral to be Confirmed by the Bishop.  It is a culmination of a year of study and service.  They wrote me a letter and say in their own words what confirmation means to them.  They are sincere and honest and I think about their families and this community who has nurtured this Spirit in them.  They want to make the world a better place; they frankly speak about their lack of prayer or attendance at Sunday Mass and they regret their loss of that ancient and spiritually fertile sacrament.  They reveal why they chose the sponsor they did and the saint they chose.  They have good hearts and it takes all our prayers and example to help them deepen their faith and their experience of the Spirit.
This Sunday after Easter is also called Divine Mercy Sunday.  It is so important to realize God’s mercy in our life and how we are the instruments of God’s mercy.  In the scriptures Jesus’ harshest words are to the professional religious of the time.  He chastises these merciless men and women who look in judgement of others.  It is hard to follow the laws and not be judgmental, it seems.  For as St. Paul says, we start using the law for our own justification and such people can be blind to mercy.  They do so because mercy for themselves is not called for since they keep the Law.  And if mercy has not been received, it cannot be given.
Divine mercy reminds us that it is good to return every day, every night, and every hour to mercy.  God’s mercy is on us sinners.  Take it as a bad omen when we are muttering under our breath or behind our hand about the doings of others for you reveal your heart barren of mercy.  And if that be so, we know little about Jesus.
Mercy does not condone, it forgives.  It will also be long coming if we don’t know mercy within our hearts.  It is why we pray and it is why we are open to reality in the power of the Spirit.  When we have that stance, we are able to cope with impoverished humanity and then help in Christ’s work of redemption.  That redemption begins from within.
So Easter continues, hopefully, for the rest of our lives.  I hope that the peeps and jelly beans hold out for a few weeks, but my fervent prayer is that we find God’s forgiveness and that we are mercy and love to others.  One cannot put such a divine posture in a closet.
In Him,
Fr. Joe