Bishop Bradley sends video greetings from Rome with diocesan seminarians Maximillian Nightingale (left) and Jeff Hanley (right)
Sunday, April 12 - 2nd Sunday of Easter/ Sunday of Divine Mercy
Greetings to my Family of Faith in the Diocese of Kalamazoo from Rome, the Eternal City,
Peace be with you! The weather here is pleasant and very spring-like, blue skies, nice breeze and temps in the 70's. On this Second Sunday of Easter, the completion of the Easter Octave and the universal celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday, I greet you with those same words of Jesus which we heard twice in today's Gospel when He appeared to His frightened Apostles locked behind closed doors in the Upper Room. "Peace be with you!" He spoke those words, affirming that He had been raised from the dead, and then showing them the proof: the wounds in His hands, feet and side from the nail spikes and spear used to crucify and kill Him just 3 days before but now healed, though still and eternally present, in His glorified and resurrected Body.
What more could they want or need than His words and the visible proof of His glorious wounds?! However it took the Apostles the better part of that first week, discussing these amazing things among themselves and trying to explain to Thomas, one of the 12 who was absent on that first Sunday evening, who was unable to believe, but rather questioned/doubted until he was able to see with his own eyes. For that reason, Jesus appeared again on what would be today, the Sunday after Easter, to prove to Thomas that He was risen and to bring him to belief.
Jesus' words----Jesus' glorious wounds----and Jesus' commission to "Receive the Holy Spirit" given thru words and through His breathing upon them is what it took to establish the Church with a mission: to go forth to all the world, seeking to convert hearts from sin, to reconcile them with the Church, and to call people to live in the Love of the Risen Christ with fellow believers and all humanity.
What a great privilege it is for me to be in Rome for this beautiful conclusion of the Easter Octave and for Divine Mercy Sunday when, on this same day, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, announced the Year of Mercy to begin on December 8th of this year, and to conclude on the Feast of Christ the King in 2016. I also had the great privilege of being among the 10's of thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Noon Angelus this afternoon when Pope Francis spoke about the blessings of Divine Mercy and this Year of Mercy to which he has called the entire Church. (Note: please see the video message above I made with our two seminarians, Max Nightingale (St. Joseph Parish, St. Joseph, and Jeff Hanley, Sts. John and Bernard Parish, Benton Harbor) studying here in Rome.)
This is the first full day of my Roman Pilgrimage. Fr. Ted Martin and I arrived at 1 p.m. yesterday afternoon (Saturday, April 11), along with six members of my own Bradley Family who are accompanying me on this trip to Rome for a Pilgrimage in thanksgiving for my 10th anniversary as a Bishop of the Church. The little more than 24 hours that we have spent here in Rome have been full of many blessings.
With Fr. Ted acting as our unofficial tourguide, we have already visited a number of beautiful Rome Churches, including St. Mary Major Basilica where we celebrated Mass this morning. I look forward to sharing more reflections from my remaining days here in Rome until our return to Kalamazoo on Saturday. In the meantime, in the words of our Risen Lord: "Peace be with you!"
Sent from my iPad