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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Divine Mercy


Divine Mercy Homily 
(Second Sunday of Easter)

Acts 5:12-16
Rev 1:9-13, 17-19
Jn 20:19-31

Today is The Feast of Divine Mercy, or better know as Divine Mercy Sunday.

On February 22, 1931, a young polish nun, Sister Faustina, saw a vision of Jesus with Rays of Mercy streaming from the area of His heart. Christ told her to have an image painted to represent this vision and to sign it, “Jesus, I trust in You.”


In a series of revelations, Christ taught her that His mercy is unlimited and available even to the greatest sinners, and he revealed special ways for people to respond to His mercy.

My question to you is, Do we really understand Christ's Mercy?

When we look at the Gospel reading today. When Jesus appears to his apostles, he says to them, “Peace be with you.” They were not at peace. They knew Jesus Christ, they believed in Him (sort of), but they were not at peace. And in the second reading we hear Our Lord say, “Do not be afraid.”

Why should we be afraid?

The only reason we would be afraid, the only reason we would not be at peace is because we don't trust Him. We don't fully believe. In our heads, we know; but in our hearts, we don't accept. We keep Jesus at an arm's distance so that our lives don't have to change. We don't want to let him in very far because we know that it will do something to us; something wonderful, something incredible, but we don't know what. So we don't let him any closer. We are afraid to be vulnerable with God.

When we look at the Today's Scriptures, and listen to our Lord's words, He tells us: “Do Not be afraid. Be at Peace.” We are also shown how the Holy Spirit is breathed upon the disciples and how they are given the authority to forgiver sins, our sins. When we really know that our sins are forgiven, we can be at peace. We have nothing to fear if we truly believe in the promises of Our Lord. We live in a day and age when the Mercy of God is more necessary that ever before.

It is true that we live in the most sinful society that history has ever known. We need the Mercy more than ever. As Our Lord told Saint Paul, “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.” So there is an absolute, overwhelming abundance of grace that is available to us today, because there is an overwhelming abundance of sin in the world today. But that is not the only reason the devotion to the Mercy of God is so necessary. It is necessary today, more than ever, because people don't believe in the Mercy of God. They don't believe in their own dignity. They don't believe in the forgiveness of sin. They don't believe that God really loves them because they don't believe that they can be loved.

So what does our Lord do? He comes to us and He points to his heart. The rays of love flow from his heart depicting, in two different colors, the waters of baptism and the blood of Jesus Christ. These symbols represent The Eucharist and Baptism; the covenant and the celebration of the covenant that each one of us has entered into. There is a reality that is more profound than anything in the world. It is the reality of the true and real presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, and the actual reality of having your soul cleansed of sin through Confession. When you kneel before the priest in confession and hear those beautiful words of absolution, you walk out with the knowledge, the unshakable knowledge, that your sins have been removed from your soul. They are no longer there. The Mercy of God is greater than anything we can do; that is what Our Lord wants us to know. There is nothing we can do that is bigger than Him. He wants, more than anything, to forgive our sins.

Yet - most of us never go to confession. And Only 10% of us even fulfill our catholic obligation of yearly confession.

WHY?

Jesus said that it was because of his love and mercy for us that he gave us the Sacrament of Confession.

Sister Faustina records Jesus saying:

Daughter, when you go to confession, to this fountain of my mercy, the blood and water which came forth from My heart always flows down upon your soul and ennobles it. Every time you go to confession, immerse yourself entirely in my mercy, with great trust, so that I may pour out the bounty of my grace upon your soul. When you approach the confessional, know this, that I myself am waiting for you there. I am only hidden by the priest, but I myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to my generosity. The torrents of grace inundate humble souls. The proud remain always in poverty and misery, because my grace turns away from them to humble souls.”

In confession, our sins are forgiven, for all who believe and are truly contrite, that is our catholic belief.
But something remarkable happens Today / (Tomorrow) on Divine Mercy Sunday. Our sins are not only forgiven, but if the formula is completed as prescribed by Christ, all temporal punishment is removed. What does that mean? That there would no need of purification in purgatory, we would have a straight shot into heaven.

WOW!

Jesus Christ spoke to Saint Faustina and stated: “On that day (Today) or (Tomorrow) 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.”

In closing I want to relay the formula for receiving a complete removal of all temporal punishment as stated to Sister Faustina by Christ Himself, and approved by our Church:

1.Go to confession
2.Receive the Eucharist worthily
3.Pray for the intentions of the Pope.
4.Participate in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy

(This can be accomplished by attending The Divine Mercy Celebration at 3 pm in our parish Today / Tomorrow)

Jesus is reaching out for each one of us. Will we drawn near, or will we keep backing away, only to remain at arms reach. That is the problem for so many of us. We don't really believe in Jesus Christ. We don't really believe in the promises of the Lord.

Tragically, most of us are lukewarm at best. We listen, Sunday after Sunday, Yet we walk away, for the most part, unchanged because we really don't believe. We know fully well if we did believe we would have to change our lives; we would have to do something different; we would not fit in anymore with all the people out in the world. We would be like the Apostles who were gathered in Solomon's Portico, when the people were afraid to be with them. It said in Today's reading “They didn't dare to come over to them.” Even though more people were added to them in great numbers, the people were terrified because they were different. They were not like the Jews of the time. There was something special about these people that set them apart. Because they were set apart, nobody wanted to be with them.

But each one of us has also been set apart. Each one of us has been consecrated to the Most Holy Trinity on the day of our baptism. The word “Consecrate” literally means to set apart. We have been set apart for a holy purpose. To do God's work. We are not to be like everyone else out there; we are to be like Jesus Christ.

Accept Christ's mercy into your lives, (Especially Today / Tomorrow) of all days.

Accept his forgiveness, Believe in Him, Believe in your holiness, Believe and know that God loves you so very much.....

1 comment:

merryenglish said...

How nice to see this homily about Divine Mercy. I came upon it by accident??? Well, maybe, because we know that someone upstairs is always at work. I wanted to teach something about Divine Mercy Sunday to teach some Korean seminarians for their English Circle! Thanks Deacon Pat for your lovely, simply worded sermon! Mary