Divine Mercy Sunday homily notes

Here are my homily notes for the homily I delivered today at the Cathedral.

Why is today Divine Mercy Sunday?
• On April 30, 2000, Blessed John Paul II canonized the Polish nun who had received from Christ the amazing revelations of the Divine Mercy in the early years of the twentieth century, Saint Mary Faustina Kowalska.
• During that ceremony, the pope fulfilled one of the requests that Christ had made through those revelations: that the entire Church reserve the Second Sunday of the Easter Season to honor and commemorate God’s infinite mercy.
Where do we see this mercy revealed in today’s Readings?
First of all, we see it in the reaction Christ shows to those men, his chosen Apostles, who had abandoned him just two nights before.
• They had abandoned Jesus in his most difficult hour, but Jesus wasn’t going to abandon them.
• He passes through the locked doors, passes through their fears, regret, and guilt, and appears to them.
• He hasn’t given up on them. He brings them his peace. And he reaffirms his confidence in them by reaffirming their mission: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
We also see God’s mercy in Christ’s reaction to the men who had crucified him.
• Does he crush them in revenge? No.
• Instead, he sends out his Apostles to tell them – and the whole sinful world, the world that had crucified its God – that they can be redeemed, that God has not condemned them: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And then, just to make sure that the Church is fully armed to communicate this message, Jesus gives the ultimate revelation of God’s mercy – he delegates to his Apostles his divine power to forgive sins: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
This is the explicit institution of the sacrament of confession, the sacrament in which the limitless ocean of God’s mercy overwhelms the puny ocean of our misery.
It was the ultimate revelation of the Divine Mercy.
Of all the Apostles, perhaps Doubting Thomas experienced this mercy most dramatically.
• Thomas was mad that Jesus had failed. He was brooding over it, nursing his anger and sorrow in solitude.
• So when he finally heard the news of the Resurrection, he wouldn’t accept it: “Unless I see the mark of the nails… I will not believe.”
• A week later, on the second Sunday after the Resurrection, Divine Mercy Sunday, Thomas is with the other Apostles, still locked inside the room and inside their fears and doubts.
• Jesus comes through those locked doors once again, and wishes them peace.
And then what does he do?
Right after he greets the whole group, his very next words are for Thomas: Touch my wounds, Thomas; believe in me!
What look do you think was in Jesus’ eyes at that point?
• I think he was smiling. He was glad to oblige Thomas’ stubborn request.
• He wasn’t offended by the Apostle’s hesitation and resistance, he was just eager to get his faith back.
• And Thomas sees this, and he sees that Christ humbly lowers himself to Thomas’ level, letting him touch him, letting him feel Christ’s real, physical presence…
• And Thomas falls on his knees and is the first Apostle to proclaim his faith in Christ’s divinity, calling him “My Lord and my God”, the very titles given to God throughout the whole Old Testament.
We are all Doubting Thomases.
We all resist God’s action in our lives in one way or another, get mad at him, don’t trust him, and rebel against him.
And it is precisely in those moments and those corners of our lives where Jesus wants to show off his boundless mercy, come down to our level, and win back our faith.
We are all children of this God whose mercy, goodness, and power are boundless, persistent, and untiring.
And children should be like their parents.
We have had the grace to experience God’s mercy – through the sacraments, through prayer, through being taught the Good News about Jesus Christ.
But there are many people around us who haven’t had that grace, or have forgotten about it.
I can think of nothing that would please God more than if we all made the commitment to spread that mercy this week, even just a little bit.
• We all have relationships that are not exactly marked by mercy.
• We all know of relationships that are marred by indifference and envy and resentment.
• This week, why not take the first step towards reconciliation, with prayer, words, or actions?
• Why not follow in the footsteps of Christ, not waiting for others to take the first step, but doing so ourselves, just like Christ, just like Jesus who held out his hands to Thomas, showing them by our courage and humility the face of Christ, our merciful Lord?
In his conversations with St Faustina, Jesus promised to unleash on the world a flood of mercy.
• He has been doing so, and he wants to continue to do so.
• The flood hasn’t yet reached every heart.
• This week, let’s be conscious channels for that flood, clear pipelines for that mercy to refresh someone’s shriveled and dried up heart.
If in today’s Mass we put ourselves at Christ’s service for this purpose, I am sure he will give each one of us plenty of opportunities to carry it out.
All we need to do is keep ever on our lips that prayer that he himself taught to St Faustina: Jesus, I trust in you.

The Concho Padre

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