DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY: Christ stands beside us in every trial: Bishop Sproxton
Perth Catholics were last weekend reminded of the immense compassion and mercy of God during the Mass for the Second Sunday of Easter, also known as Divine Mercy Sunday, celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton on Sunday 19 April, in the room used by the now St John Paul II, in the Cathedral Parish House, when he visited in November 1986. Photo: Source.
By Theresia Titus
Perth Catholics were last weekend reminded of the immense compassion and mercy of God during the Mass for the Second Sunday of Easter, also known as Divine Mercy Sunday.
The Mass, livestreamed online, was celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton, with Cathedral Assistant Priest Fr Richard Rutkauskas, on Sunday 19 April, in the room used by the now St John Paul II, in the Cathedral Parish House, when he visited in November 1986.
In his homily for the Mass, Bishop Sproxton said the greatest sign of God’s love which has been the sending of Jesus, especially during difficult periods in life.
“On this Sunday, we reflect on the promise that Christ stands beside us in every trial, and that he alone strengthens faith and hope,” Bishop Sproxton said.
“The experience of these past weeks has been very difficult. As Christians, we have been deprived of being together and celebrating with our communities the great acts of the love of God for us, shown in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
“It has been difficult, yet necessary for us to join in the effort required of us all to minimise the impact of the coronavirus on the people of our state and nation. Thankfully, our efforts and sacrifices are showing signs of success,” he continued.
Bishop Sproxton also expressed gratitude towards joint efforts that had been done in the community amid the coronavirus-led crisis and reminded Perth Catholics to hold onto their faiths in facing difficult periods ahead.
“One image that to me was very powerful was the photo in the media of the nurse whose face was red raw through wearing a mask during the long shifts she worked caring for patients. We are seeing the best in people,” he said.
“There will be more, perhaps, many more weeks ahead of restrictions and sacrifices being asked of us. There will be moments when we will tire or find what is being asked beyond us.
“This will be when our faith will be needed so that hope can be sustained in us: faith to go the extra mile- faith that God is with us,” he continued.
Bishop Sproxton believed it is “the faith that we have in Jesus and what we know about His love for us” that will hearten us to survive coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Sourced.
Bishop Sproxton also spoke about the way of life in the early Christian communities, emphasising how love “seemed to be actively at work among their members” which has inspired us “to work for renewal so that the church might be again what God has meant us to be”.
“Our history teaches us that very soon after the Christian community began the first of many persecutions occurred and internal disagreements arose,” he said.
“Yet, those early Christians came to realise that the times of trials were when they had experienced the consolation of the power of God in special ways.
“Their faith had been tested and proved like gold. They found that they had grown in faith and were stronger by passing through those painful times,” he added.
Bishop Sproxton also explained how the Gospel which tells the story of Thomas the Apostle and his inner doubt in the resurrection of Jesus is a trial relatable to all of us as we are struggling “to believe that in Jesus, the light overcame darkness, that love defeated evil”.
“Thomas’ story itself is good news because it shows the lengths that Jesus went to, out of concern for Thomas, to meet him and help him overcome his difficulties. Jesus did not reject him for his lack of faith and trust,” he stated.
“In the long-run, Thomas would become an outstanding apostle, bringing the story of Jesus and God’s love beyond his homeland to far-off lands and cultures.
“He would be seen as a man of faith, hope and love, and so many were attracted by him, first of all, and then they asked to become part of his community of Christians, as they came to know Jesus, whom they had not seen for themselves,” he continued.
In his homily, Bishop Sproxton reminded Perth Catholics that the greatest sign of God’s love has been the sending of Jesus, especially during difficult periods in life. Photo: Sourced.
At the end of his homily, Bishop Sproxton believed it is “the faith that we have in Jesus and what we know about His love for us” that will hearten us to survive coronavirus pandemic.
“We are restricted so that our communities can be made safe and the more vulnerable in our neighbourhoods and families will not be exposed to the potentially deadly virus,” he added.
“This live-streaming of the Mass in a way keeps us close to Jesus and reminds us that he is with us. When we pray for spiritual communion later the sacred bond with him is strengthened by his grace, and the bond with one another in the parishes is also strengthened.
“Without seeing him, we believe,” he concluded.