CATHOLIC HOMILY FOR THE DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY YEAR B
THEME: Forgive and Forget
BY: Rev. Fr. Anthony O. EZEAPUTA, MA.
HOMILY: I believe that everyone has heard the phrase “forgive and forget” at least once in their life. And most of us agree that it is easier said than done. Have you ever stopped and thought of what it really means? Most likely, you think it means: ‘Move on and get over it’ or ‘Don’t be so sensitive.’ Well, I have good news for you. Forgive and forget doesn’t mean that your disappointments, betrayals, pains, offenses, and hurt never happened. Instead, it reveals the truth of our weakened human nature and our ministry as dispensers of the divine mercy.
In the beginning, Adam and Eve were created in an original state of holiness and justice. They were free from an inclination or concupiscence to sin (Catechism, 375, 376, 377, 398). By their sin, however, they lost this original state. Sadly, not only for themselves but for us too (Catechism, 416). “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor 15:22).
By baptism, the Sin of Adam and Eve or the original sin, actual or personal sin, and the eternal punishment due to them are forgiven. The door of the Kingdom of God is opened, and the gift of eternal life is received by the baptized. Notwithstanding, the baptized carry the wound or the inclination to sin inherited from Adam and Eve. The effect of this wound is our weakened human nature or human frailties (Catechism, 1263-1264).
Interestingly, God has a perfect knowledge of us and our fallen human nature. He knows that we have inherited a human nature deprived of the original holiness and justice. He knows that we are inclined to sin and evil. Therefore, God isn’t amazed by our sins and shortcomings. There is no amount of sin that we commit that can surprise God. With this perfect knowledge of us comes the divine mercy. The Evangelist John (3:16) puts it so beautifully, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Despite this, we need to be strong and courageous. We need not be afraid or be in dread of our fallen human nature, for the Lord our God is with you. He will not leave or forsake us (Deut 31:6). There is still hope for us. The Season of Easter is a reminder of this hope. We are capable of so much good through the Risen Christ (Phil 4:13). For Jesus Christ is the face of the divine mercy. He is the Divine Mercy by his words, his actions, and his entire person, says Pope Francis. We become ministers of the Divine Mercy by imitating him.
To become a minister of the Divine Mercy is then to know that we are all weak and imperfect and still decide to forgive and forget one another’s failings. The phrase “forgive and forget” is, then, an invitation to be Christlike. It means imitating Christ who knows that we are sinners and decides to make peace with us. It is an acceptance of what we can’t change. We are inclined to sin, and we are imperfect. We can’t change the reality of our fallen human nature.
To forgive and forget is to make peace with our true human nature. It is in our nature to betray, hurt, and disappoint one another. When you experience acts of love and kindness from anybody, thank God for his grace on that person (1 Cor 15:10). We are only able to do good through the grace of God (Phil 4:13). This knowledge must bring us peace and lead us to make peace with our past offenses and hurts. None of us is perfect. We are works in progress and working towards perfection.
After the resurrection of Jesus and while the apostolic mission was about to begin, Jesus entrusts to his Apostles the ministry of divine mercy. He gives them the authority to forgive and to reconcile repentant sinners (Jn 20: 21-23). Remarkably, before entrusting this ministry to them, Jesus shows them the wounds of the Passion. For from these wounds come the divine mercy that heal our wounded and fallen human nature.
On the Divine Mercy Sunday, the Church reminds us that we are all ministers of Jesus, the Divine mercy. Through the grace of his Resurrection, may we liberate ourselves from our past offenses, hurts, betrayals, and disappointments. In this way, we can truly forgive and forget our neighbor’s shortcomings.
May Saint Faustina and Pope Saint John Paul II, pray for us.