HOMILY THEME: Mercy is the path to Salvation.

BY: Rev. Fr Callistus Emenyonu, cmf



HOMILY THEME: Mercy is the path to Salvation.

BY: Rev. Fr Callistus Emenyonu, cmf


HOMILY: READINGS: Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24(Resp.V.1); 1Pet.1:3-9; John 20:19-31

Mercy ordinarily would mean overlooking the demands of the law and human rational way of doing things; going in the way of the Lord as if a fool or a coward who cannot act rightly as humans do. It is an act of offering some other person or persons what is not their due. In another way, mercy implies charity and generosity. It is an act of showing love at its highest level when the contrary should have been the case.

Today the Church celebrates the Divine Mercy of God to Humanity. Thanks to blessed Pope John Paul 11 who during his pontificate liturgically accepted and universally decreed this ancient truth known and proclaimed by the Church since her inception; a truth known and believed by the entire world which is knowingly or unknowingly proclaimed each time we refer events with AD or BC. Jesus Christ is the supreme and culmination of the mercy of God which started with creation especially in the creation of Man in his own image, what man truly does not deserve. Little wonder the Church beatified the epitome of mercy of our time on the feast of the Divine Mercy. What else could have been more justified in our ecclesial time today if not the beatification of the merciful Pope of our time St Pope John Paul 11?

When we celebrate Easter, we celebrate the practicality and dramatization of the merciful act of God on humanity. Humanity offended God and does not in justice demand anything other than condemnation and execution. God who was dearly offended by humanity did not wait for her to apologize or sue for reconciliation but initiated the process and became the victim of the peace-making by giving of his only begotten Son to die shamefully on the scandalous death of the cross. This is mercy par excellence. It is this mercy which is a special act of love that bonded the believers to live in unity and peace sharing all that they have in common. Each was willing and actually did give out what he or she could have enjoyed alone for others to benefit so as not to be in want. None by law has the right to own or share in the other’s goods and services but they had to mercifully do that. The first reading tells us of this merciful act of the early and first Church which we are called to imitate.

Individuals are called to this act of merciful love in sharing, societies are also called to it, cooperate bodies have same vocation as well as nations and continents. The entire society, community, families, churches and indeed all are to accept this call to sacrifice whatever they have and make others happy and charitable beneficiaries of that they owe. Sharing of what one has by Christian spirituality becomes a debt that we owe each other, such that it is now a sin not to do so. If you are in the situation of abundance and luxury while the next door neighbour is in want, then your Christianity is in question. If you are the only one that is comfortable while every other complains as you look indifferent to their plight, your Christianity is in doubt.

This is why the second reading makes it clear that the resurrection of Christ is an act of mercy which gives us a new birth and hope of living. This is his self- giving, rich he was yet made himself poor that we might be rich. We have by this his merciful act gained an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled and unfading kept in heaven for us.

This Jesus did not exhaust his mercy at the cross but beyond such that after his glorious resurrection, he went in search and visitation of the defected apostles/disciples. Do they in justice merit the visitation of Jesus Christ who finished an agonizing painful death where his apostles denied him and disassociated themselves from him when he needed their convinced show of love? He could have gone his own way of glory to the Father yet his mercy lured him to search for them and strengthen them. He visited them with a merciful gift of peace. They were torn apart in their minds and filled with fear and perhaps disintegrated self that knows no reconciliation and peace.

He came and entered even in a place locked tight. This is the way he can enter into hearts that are tight closed at him and bestow peace to it. He has this ability but the decision is ours to wish him entrance into our lock-up hearts. He gave them peace in their hearts and peace among themselves devoid of suspicion (of who was to betray him as happened prior his crucifixion), peace to reconcile with the wicked world and power to go and save them as well. He should have been angry with Thomas who despite his many times announced his ability to rise on the third day after his death (destroy this temple and in three days I will restore/rebuild it). He should have been madder at Thomas than he was to the two men on their way to Emmaus; if they were called fools, slow to understand the scripture, then Thomas should have received his wrath. Yet his mercy led him to be patient with him; giving him another opportunity to be satisfied with his reasons of doubt. He came again to help him heal his unbelief and doubt. What a merciful act of Jesus beyond and after the cross. Through Thomas’ doubt, we who never saw him have also merited his mercy of being counted blessed since we believe.

St Pope John Paul 11 showed us an example like his master to follow. He was shot by a supposed enemy who wished to take away his life unlawfully; same act of the Jews, but like his master forgave him and wished the law of Rome and Italy would set him free. He went further to demonstrate that act of merciful love to the man by visiting him in the prison and embraced him. He was a man after the heart of his Father and God. We are called today to be merciful and ready to put smiles on the faces of others who are in need. Mercy is the path indeed that leads to salvation of our souls; charity indeed covers multitude of sin. May the Lord help us to show mercy to each other so as to see him in the midst and gathering of his people- the Church.

Rev. Fr Callistus Emenyonu, cmf

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