YEAR C: HOMILY FOR DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY
HOMILY THEME: Mercy is a debt we owe to others. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mathew 5:7).
BY: Fr. Clem C. Aladi
HOMILY: GOSPEL: JOHN 20:19-31.
“‘I am love and Mercy Itself. There is no misery that could be a match for My mercy, neither will misery exhaust it, because as it is being granted – it increases. The soul that trusts in My mercy are most fortunate because I Myself take care of it.’” St Faustina’s Diary (No. 1273)
My dearest people of God, I joyfully welcome you to the house of God today as we celebrate the great feast of DIVINE MERCY. Mercy is godly, it is an attribute of God. Jesus is mercy embodied, His mercy is endless, His mercy is like an ocean with limitless depths. Mercy is an indispensable quality of a true disciple of Christ. Mercy, compassion and forgiveness are all related in the sense that each seeks the good of another, heals the wound of another, and pays the price for another without demanding anything in return even when one deserves to pay the price. William Shakespeare, once said, ” the quality of mercy is not strained…” God demonstrated the free gift of His mercy by sending his only son to die for us and to redeem us sinners through His sufferings, death, and resurrection. We never deserved it, but God gratuitously shows His mercy because He loves us and not because He stands to gain anything from us. There are so much wickedness and revenge in our world today, we need to be merciful.
The feast of Divine Mercy began April 30th, 2000 when our Lord appeared to St. Faustina and requested that this feast be established in the church to propagate the divine and incomprehensible mercy of God. To tell the world that no sin is beyond God’s forgiveness. That whoever ask for His mercy must surely find it.
The first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, explains how the risen Lord continued to show His Divine Mercy to the sick through the healing and preaching ministry of the apostles in the early Church. The Faith of the apostles enabled them to minister to the people, giving them the Lord’s healing love in “signs and wonders.” These healings illustrate how the power of the Resurrection can work miracles, even though ordinary people. We know that this power of the Resurrection still operates today because we have seen how a friendly smile, a gentle touch or a willingness to forgive can heal a broken spirit, and how the challenging words of a parent, a teacher or a friend can quicken the mind and heart.
The second reading, taken from the Book of Revelation, given by Jesus to the Apostle John in exile on Patmos, was intended to comfort and bolster the Faith of persecuted Christians for all time. Today’s selection assures us of the presence of the merciful Lord in our lives and encourages all of us to fight fear with Faith, and trepidation about the future with trust and Hope.
The Gospel of today is one of the scriptural sources of Divine Mercy of God as it comes to us through the Sacrament of reconciliation dispensed by the Church through the authority of Christ. Jesus entrusted to his apostles and us all his mission of preaching the “Good News” of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation. This teaches us that Jesus uses the Church as the earthly means of continuing His mission. The Risen Lord gives the Apostles the authority to forgive sins in His Name. He gives the apostles the power of imparting God’s mercy to the sinner – the gift of forgiving sins from God’s treasury of mercy. God forgives sin through the instrumentality of the Priests who are sharers in that Apostolic authority. If God does not need the Apostles(men) to forgive sins, He wouldn’t have given them the authority to “bind” and “loose”. We obtain God’s mercy and forgiveness at the sacrament of reconciliation. The sacrament of Penance is a tribunal of mercy where every sinner is acquitted and not condemned for “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1ff). The clearest way of expressing our belief in the Sacrament of penance is our own forgiveness of others. We can’t live together as a member of a Christian community without such forgiveness. Let us, therefore, practice forgiveness and compassion.
The early Christians lived together as a community of faith. The Christian community contributes greatly to building up our faith in God. Anything that threatens the Christian community touches the very foundation of Christian life and faith. Thomas doubted the appearance of the risen Lord because he was away from the community when Christ first appeared to the disciples. This should serve as a warning to us. It is difficult for us to believe when we distance our ourselves from the fellowship of other believers. Those who absent themselves wilfully from Sunday masses and other liturgical celebration in the Church should reconsider their priorities. Don’t forget that Jesus appeared to the disciples where they gathered as a community of believers and not in a night club or Casino. When the Lord appeared to Thomas later, He said: “Blessed are those who have not seen but have believed.” This story of doubting Thomas highlights the importance of signs and also their limitations in terms of bringing people to faith. Thomas overcame his doubts by seeing and touching Jesus. Today we no longer “see” or “touch” Jesus as Thomas did, but we see and touch him in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and feel his spiritual presence in all the sacraments and in our lives. Faith comes to us in different ways, so we have to appreciate God’s mercy in bringing us closer to himself.
Let us all learn to show mercy, forgiveness, and compassion to all we meet daily. This is the only way to conquer the wickedness of the world and restore peace in our troubled world. Don’t always insist on your right when you are hurt, you can also forgive the person who hurt you, that is what it means to be merciful. Contrary to worldly beliefs, being merciful does not make you a weaker person, it rather shows the strength of your inner resolution as strong spirited person .
May we experience God’s mercy and compassion and in turn others experience it through us.
I keep you and your family always in my prayers Always.
Fr. Clem C. Aladi