April 23, 2017 Divine Mercy Sunday
Let those who fear the LORD say, "His mercy endures forever."
David took note of these remarks and became very much afraid of Achish, king of Gath.
One wonders why was David so afraid. According to David Roper this was David’s testing.
Just about the time I think I've got it all together, some unsightly emotional display, some inappropriate reaction, some other embarrassing behavior blows my cover and I have that horrible experience of being found out. It's humiliating! But humiliation is good for the soul. Through it God deals with our self-admiration and pride. Without it we could never make the most of our lives. The trouble with us is that we want to be tremendously important. It's a terrible trait, the essential vice, the utmost evil. It's the sin that turned the devil into the demon he became. Obscurity and humility, on the other hand, release God's greatness. It is the basis of our life with God and our usefulness in this world. Thomas à Kempis wrote, "The more humble a man is in himself, and the more subject unto God; so much more prudent shall he be in all his affairs, and enjoy greater peace and quietness of heart." Because ambition and pride is the center of our resistance to God and the source of so much unhappiness, "God opposes the proud" (James 4:6); he brings us to our knees, where He can then begin to do something with us.
David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. But the servants of Achish said to him, "Isn't this David, the king of the land? Isn't he the one they sing about in their dances: 'Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands'?" David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard. Achish said to his servants, "Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this [mad] man come into my house?" David [then] left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam (1 Samuel 21:10-22:1). David fled south from Nob — with Saul in hot pursuit — and he made his way across the Judean hills and through the Valley of Elah where a few years before he had engaged Goliath in combat. It was to Gath — the home of his enemies — that David now turned for shelter from Saul. I don't know what possessed David to flee to Gath. Perhaps he thought he wouldn't be recognized, since this was several years after his encounter with Goliath, and he had grown to manhood. Perhaps he disguised himself in some way. But David was instantly recognized, and his presence was reported to king Achish of Gath: "Isn't this David, the king of the land? Isn't he the one they sing about in their dances: 'Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands'?" The phrase "they sing" could be translated, "they still sing," suggesting a popular tune. David's fame was celebrated everywhere — even in Philistia. You have to understand the implications of this song. David had slain his ten thousands of Philistines; his fame had been established at the expense of bereaved Philistine women and children. Here was an opportunity to take vengeance. Furthermore, he was considered "the king of the land [of Israel]." By some means David became aware that he had been found out, and that he was facing imprisonment and death, so David lost his nerve (see Psalm 34 and 56). Motivated by sheer terror, David pretended to go mad, foaming at the mouth and scrawling crazy slogans on the walls. According to the title of Psalm 56 the Philistines "seized him" and brought him to Achish, who dismissed him with the contemptuous remark: "Behold, you see a madman! Why have you brought him to me? Am I lacking madmen that you have brought this to ply his madness against me? Must this come into my house?" The word translated "mad man" (21:15), used three times by Achish, suggests something other than insanity. The word in other Near Eastern languages means "highly aggressive" — violent and dangerous — which gives added force to the king's remark: ". . . you have brought this to ply his madness [ravings] against me?" Achish was afraid of David. The title to Psalm 34 supplies the conclusion of the matter: Achish "drove him away," out of his court and out of town — David, run out of town on a rail, utterly humiliated. David, the tough guy, the hero of Israel, the man they celebrated in song and dance had wimped out in the face of physical danger and made an utter fool of himself. With no place else to go, unwelcome in both Israel and Philistia, David fled into a labyrinth of broken ridges and rimrock about three miles from Gath and crept into a cave. The cavern in which he found refuge was called the Cave of Adullum (Adullam means refuge). It can't be located with certainty, but the traditional site is a dark vault located on a shelf at the top of a near-perpendicular cliff. In that dark place — humiliated, crushed, alone — he wrote Psalm 34 and Psalm 56. He was at his nadir. In that dark place David cried out to God: "This poor [humiliated] man called, and the LORD heard him." There he learned that "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (34:6, 18). Lord Byron wrote from Reading Jail, "How else but through a broken heart can Lord Christ enter in?" Furthermore, David learned to boast in the Lord rather than in his own ability (34:2). Through shame and disgrace he became a more modest man — one whom God could shape and use.
Divine Mercy Sunday
Come to the Feast of Divine Mercy! Calling all Catholics, come to the Feast of Mercy on the Sunday after Easter. Did you know that the Lord said that this feast would one day be the “last hope of salvation”? Have you considered what would happen to you if you suddenly died in the state of mortal sin? Did you know that in the 1930’s Our Lord Jesus, Himself requested through St. Faustina that a very special Feast of Divine Mercy be established in His Church and solemnly celebrated on the First Sunday after Easter every year? In the Jubilee Year 2000, after many years of study, Saint Pope John Paul II fulfilled the will of Christ by establishing this special Feast of Divine Mercy in the Catholic Church and gave it the name of Divine Mercy Sunday! By God’s Providence, Saint John Paul II died on this feast in 2005. What is so special about this new Feast of Divine Mercy you might be asking yourself? It is the promise of the total forgiveness of all sins and punishment for any soul that would go to Confession and then receive Jesus in Holy Communion on that very special Feast of Divine Mercy! Why would Jesus offer us something so great at this time? Jesus told St. Faustina that she was to prepare the world for His Second Coming and that He would be pouring out His Mercy in very great abundance before He comes again as the Just Judge and as the very last hope of salvation. If you have been away from the practice of your Catholic faith, and if you would like to come back into the, one, true Catholic Church, then this is the most perfect opportunity for you, if you are prepared to repent and turn from sin. Many former fallen-away Catholics have taken advantage of this great Feast of Mercy to get a brand new start in life and to be totally prepared to stand before the Lord.
If you have been away from the Catholic faith and if you have any questions about coming back home, then come in and talk to a priest at any Catholic Church. The beauty of the Catholic Church is that its teachings and practices are the same at all the parishes. You may have concerns, such as: marriage outside of the Church; un-confessed abortions; or other issues that could be preventing you from receiving Holy Communion or you may have questions about the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Don’t remain in doubt. Call your local parish office to find out the necessary steps to come back to the Catholic faith. Don’t consider yourself as without hope. Our Lord Jesus wants to pardon completely even the worst sinners possible. Remember, Jesus has come for sinners, not the righteous. Jesus said that even if our sins were as numerous as the grains of sand, they would be lost in His Ocean of Mercy. If you are truly repentant of your sins and are well prepared to confess your sins in the Sacrament of Confession, you’ll experience a tremendous peace. You’ll experience a great weight lifted from you and get a brand new start in life! Once you have confessed your sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, then you must continue to practice your faith as a good Catholic. This involves attending Mass every Sunday and on Holy Days of Obligation, supporting your local parish, and confessing your serious sins at least once a year. In Confession, you must be truly sorry for your sins and you must intend to continue to practice your faith.
Jesus is in the Confessional
One of the most reassuring things Our Lord Jesus revealed to us through Saint Faustina includes the several times when He indicated to her that He is really there in the Confessional when we are making our individual Confessions to the priests. Jesus said that every time we enter the Confessional, that He Himself is there waiting for us, and that He is only hidden by the priest. Jesus said never to analyze what sort of a priest that He is making use of, but for us to reveal our souls to Him and that He will fill us with His peace and light. Some have wondered why Jesus would want us to confess our sins to a priest, but the answer is in the very first instruction that Jesus gave to His Apostles directly after His Resurrection from the dead. On the evening of the Resurrection, Jesus walked through the door of the Upper Room where the Apostles were hiding and said to them “Receive the Holy Spirit, what sins you forgive are forgiven them, what sins you retain are retained”. This was the start of Confessions. For sure, that command was not only for the Apostles to be able to forgive sins, and then to be forgotten, but for that power to be passed on to all the ordained priests of today in the Catholic Church. Jesus said that the greater the sinner, the greater the right they have to His mercy! Don’t continue to carry your sins, Jesus forgives!
To properly celebrate the Feast of Divine Mercy and to receive the forgiveness of all sins and punishment, you must go to Confession to a Catholic priest within 20 days before or after Divine Mercy Sunday. Or if you are in the state of very serious or mortal sin, you must always confess them before receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, or you will also commit a sacrilege, which is also a very serious sin. If you haven’t been going to Sunday Mass without any good reason, you may be in a state of serious sin and you must confess before receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. For more information about the Feast of Divine Mercy and a Confession Guide, go to: http://www.DivineMercySunday.com or call 772-873-4581.
Divine Mercy Sunday Top Events and Things to Do
· If you are Roman Catholic, left the church, and want to come back, ask a priest to give you the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is offered in churches throughout the year, but is particularly appropriate on Divine Mercy Sunday.
· Take Holy Communion. This sacrament in any Christian church represents unity with everyone who believes in Jesus Christ.
· Go to confession. Understanding that every person falls short is an important part of Christianity. In the Catholic Church, priests give acts of penitence after confession, which often involves prayer. They also offer forgiveness.
· Watch a movie about forgiveness. Some excellent films include "The Color Purple" (1985), "The Green Mile" (1999), and "Pay It Forward" (2000).
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