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Homily for the 6th Sunday of Easter, May 9, 2021, Year B

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Fr. René J. Butler, M.S. Director, La Salette Shrine Enfield, NH "Love one another." (John 15:17) Duccio‘s Maestà alterpiece, 1308-11 ( Click here for today’s readings ) Many years ago when I was in college, I remember being involved in a pseudo-intellectual debate on whether charity was an obligation. On one side the argument was that charity, by definition, implies something done freely, from the heart. On the other side the claim was that being a Christian, by definition, implies a way of life that must include charity. The last words of today’s Gospel could lend themselves to a similar discussion. “This I command you: love one another.” On the one hand love, as we understand it, like Shakespeare’s “quality of mercy,” cannot be “strained,” i.e., constrained, forced. Imagine trying to bully someone into loving you! Part of the mystery of love is precisely that we are not able to make it happen. And when it does take hold of us we can scarcely expla

Homily for the 5th Sunday of Easter, May 2, 2021, Year B

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Fr. René J. Butler, M.S. La Salette Missionaries of North America Hartford, Connecticut ( Click here for Sunday’s readings ) A couple of weeks ago we used the image of witnesses and concluded that we need to become “expert,” i.e. experienced, witnesses whose credibility is based on a genuine relationship with the Risen Lord. In today’s first reading we have Saul, recently returned to Jerusalem from his conversion experience on the road to Damascus, ready and eager to get out there and witness, to “speak out boldly.” And he does so, after finally gaining the trust of the other Jerusalem Christians. Then the former persecutor becomes the one persecuted, and the Christians spirit him away to his home town of Tarsus. What is wrong with this picture? Isn’t the witness supposed to stay and die for the faith? Running away doesn’t seem to fit. Actually it does. It’s called “witness protection.” Even before this, Saul had to escape from Damascus by being let down in a basket

Homily for the 4th Sunday of Easter, April 25, 2021, Year B

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Fr. René J. Butler, M.S. La Salette Missionaries of North America Hartford, Connecticut ( Click here for today's readings ) Can you imagine rival politicians each making the claim that Jesus makes in today’s Gospel, “I am the good shepherd”? They would be laughed out of their party. What about a doctor? a scientist? a journalist? a police officer? a teacher? an actor? Ridiculous in every case. And even though the clergy are called to imitate Jesus as best they can in their “pastoral” or “shepherding” ministry, not one would dare to declare, “I am the good shepherd.” Why is this so? Think about it. Why would you react negatively in such a case? I think part of the answer lies in the implication of absolute trust. We are not prepared to bestow that on just anyone. It may go even deeper. How many teen-agers or adults do you know who actually want to be led by someone else? We don’t want to be sheep. I found a definition of “sheepish” which reads: “resembling a  sh

Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Easter, April 18, 2021, Year B

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Fr. René J. Butler, M.S. La Salette Missionaries of North America Hartford, Connecticut Click here for today’s readings Isn’t this the Easter season? Isn’t Lent over? Why, then, is there so much talk of sin and repentance in today’s readings? In Acts we are told, “Repent, and be converted.” St. John says in his Letter: “I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin.” And Jesus mentions “repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” The point of mentioning these things at Easter time is to show that forgiveness is possible thanks precisely to the Risen Christ. St. John calls Jesus our “Advocate” and adds, “He is expiation for our sins.” St. Peter promises that the sins even of those who crucified Jesus could be wiped away. Jesus himself speaks of forgiveness of sins being preached in his name. In other words, Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, is the source of our salvation. That is what we believe. Personal belief is a good thing. Is it enough? Not always. Jesus tells the

Divine Mercy Sunday | 2021

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April 11, 2021 Saint Faustina received visions of our Lord, in which, Jesus instructed her to tell the world of His infinite Love and Mercy. She recorded these visions in her diary; later published under the title Divine Mercy in My Soul: The Diary of St. Faustina . Here, St. Faustina writes of Jesus’ desire to establish a solemn feast dedicated to spreading the Divine Mercy of Christ to all humanity: "On one occasion, I heard these words: 'My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day, the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day, all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened.'" Our Lord

Divine Mercy Sunday Plenary Indulgence | 2021

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Divine Mercy Sunday is April 11, 2021 Jesus told St. Faustina that this Feast of Mercy would be a very special day when "all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened." (Diary 699) Our Lord made a great promise to all those souls who would go to Confession and then receive Him in Holy Communion on the Feast of Mercy, on the Sunday after Easter, which is now called Divine Mercy Sunday throughout the Catholic Church. Jesus promised, "The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain the complete forgiveness of sins and punishment." (Diary 699) He went on to say "I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My Mercy." (Diary 1109) Take advantage of this incredible promise and the additional plenary indulgence on this feast of Mercy "Divine Mercy Sunday". We want you to benefit fully from these promises, and we encourage you to

Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday), April 11, 2021, Year B

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Fr. René J. Butler, M.S. La Salette Missionaries of North America Hartford, Connecticut ( Click here for today's readings ) Little did the disciples suspect how Thomas would react when they told him everything that had happened in his absence. Surely he would be thrilled to know that Jesus really was alive, and eager to hear all that Jesus had said and done when he appeared to them. How could they have expected him to refuse to believe them? It didn’t make sense. It’s impossible to imagine that Thomas’s exchange with the other disciples was as brief as may appear from a single verse in the Gospel. After all, a whole week passed between the two scenes we have just read. And what a miserable week it must have been for Thomas, as the others kept trying to persuade him. There was probably plenty of frustration to go around on both sides. This is the stuff of advice columns. It’s the way you feel when you see pictures on Facebook, of a bunch of your friends having a great time toget