We added to our "Holy Door" where we will reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy as Pope Francis has asked us to do during this Year of Mercy. This week it is counsel the doubtful.
This is to help someone who is doubtful – they aren’t sure about something, especially about doing something that might or might not make God happy. To counsel them is to give wise advice concerning a spiritual decision they have to make. The main reason to do this is to help a person to decide whether to doing something that might or might not make God happy.
How do you become wise so that you can give advice to somebody? You become wise by learning about your faith. The Bible actually gives you that advice in the Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament. “Listen to counsel and receive instruction,” it says, “that you may eventually become wise.”
We listened to a Scripture passage from the New Testament that gives an example of this work of mercy in practice.
Jesus told the small group of people who followed him closely – the Apostles – that he had to die, but then would be raised from the dead – the resurrection, which is what we just celebrated at Easter – and rise or ascend into heaven. When he got there he would send the Holy Spirit down upon his Apostles to help them know how to form the church. This is what the Acts of the Apostles book that comes right after the Gospels is all about. Peter is speaking to a crowd of Jews on the same day they received the Holy Spirit – the day called Pentecost. The Jews didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah they had been waiting for all through the Old Testament. They were very doubtful and so their leaders were the ones that had Jesus crucified where he died. Peter told them that Jesus actually is the Messiah promised by God who was sent to save everybody from the sins that separate them from God. Now read Acts 2:37-41. This is an example of people who were doubtful and asked for spiritual advice. Peter counseled them by telling them if they are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ they can receive the Holy Spirit just like the Apostles did and just like you did on the day you were baptized. About 3,000 accepted the counsel from Peter and were baptized.
Jesus counsels a doubtful Thomas in this weekend's Gospel reading.
Easter Sunday celebrates Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. This is the core of Christian faith: that God raised Jesus, who was crucified, from the dead. The promise of Jesus is that all who believe in him will be raised up to new life with God as he has been. The act of raising Jesus from the dead reveals most ultimately who God is—the one who gives life. By accepting death, Jesus reveals who God is, too. The power that gives life, as Jesus reveals it, is love, especially its concrete forms such as forgiving, serving others, and giving one’s life.
God creates the World
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1)
God created the whole world and everything in it.
Adam and Eve are Tempted
“So, God created man in his own image; male and female, he created them” (Genesis 1:27).
God gave Adam and Eve a beautiful home in the Garden of Eden. One day a serpent tempted them to disobey God by eating from the tree of knowledge. Sin and death entered the world.
"I establish my covenant with you, ...and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth” (Genesis 9:11).
As more people filled the earth, they grew wicked. God chose Noah and his family to build a large ship to escape a huge flood. It rained for 40 days and nights and the earth was destroyed. Noah, his family, and two of every animal survived.
The Tower of Babel
“Therefore its name was called Babel because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth” (Genesis 11:9).
The earth filled with people again and they disobeyed God. The people built a big tower to reach heaven and be more important than God. God mixed up their language so they couldn’t understand one another. They stopped building and scattered across the earth.
As the Church celebrates this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we can only imagine how merciful God is. But we can get a better idea by making our relationship with God stronger.
- How are you going to keep your Catholic faith alive through prayer and good deeds? (Write about or draw a picture)
Jesus’ friend Thomas didn’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead when his friends told him. He had to see it for himself. Sometimes our parents ask us to do something and they doubt that we’ll do it the first time.
This week, when your mom or dad asks you to do something that normally you would not do without protest… surprise them by doing it — right away!
- What did they ask you to do?
- Were they surprised that you did it?