Divine Mercy Sunday (Second Sunday after Easter, Year A) Homily by Fr. M. Lusembo
Objective: That we may trust in His mercy and be merciful to others and to ourselves.
The readings on this second Sunday of Easter are about mercy, trust and the forgiveness of sins.
In the gospel text, from Jn 20: 19-31, the risen Jesus, out of mercy, gives peace to his disciples who are in hiding for fear that they too might be put to death. He even comes back, specifically, for Thomas who has not yet believed in his resurrection.
In the second reading, from the first letter of Saint Peter, Peter invites us to give thanks to God, because, out of His great mercy, He “gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death. This feels us with a living hope, and so we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for His people ….. even though it may be now necessary for you to be sad for a while because of the many kinds of trials you suffer. Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine. Even gold, … is tested by fire.” (1 Pt 1:3-7). Psalm 118 confirms that God’s mercy is everlasting.
In the first reading, from Acts 2:42-47, the disciples demonstrate Divine Mercy by being of one heart and mind, sharing their resources so that no one lacks anything. “They would sell their property and possessions, and distribute the money among all, according to what each one needed.” (45).
Jesus commissioned Saint Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun, to proclaim His Mercy. That is why, during the Mass of her canonization, on April 30th, 2000, Pope John Paul II proclaimed: “It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church, will be called Divine Mercy Sunday.”
We have to do three things in order to obtain God’s mercy:
1 – Repent of our sins and ask God to have mercy upon us and upon the whole world. In her diary no. 699, Faustina quotes Jesus saying that “The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion, on Divine Mercy Sunday, shall obtain the complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.” This privilege was extended by church authority to 20 days before and 20 days after the Divine Mercy Sunday.
Our Lord Jesus assured Saint Faustina that He is really there in the Confessional when we are making our individual Confessions, to the priests.
If you have been away from the practice of your Catholic faith, and if you would like to come back into the, one, true Catholic Church, then this is the most perfect opportunity, for you, if you are ready to repent and turn away from sin. Jesus came for sinners!
2 – Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us, through corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
Corporal Works of Mercy:
• To feed the hungry;
• To give drink to the thirsty;
• To clothe the naked;
• To accommodate the homeless;
• To visit the sick;
• To ransom the captive;
• To bury the dead.
The spiritual works of mercy are:
• To instruct the ignorant;
• To counsel the doubtful;
• To admonish sinners;
• To bear wrongs patiently;
• To forgive offences willingly;
• To comfort the afflicted;
• To pray for the living and the dead.
3 – Completely trust in Jesus. The more we trust in Jesus, the more mercy we will receive from Him and the more merciful we shall be.
Christ’s incarnation, passion, death and resurrection demonstrate His mercy.
Jesus does not want anybody to perish. He is struggling to remove all the sins that would cause misery to humanity. That is why He instituted the Sacrament of Baptism to take away the original sin and turn us into God’s children.
That is why He instituted the sacrament of Reconciliation by commissioning His apostles to forgive sins, as we have heard during the Gospel reading. He Says “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (Jn 20:23). Jesus would like to forgive all the sins. But if people show unwillingness to give up some of their sins, then some sins can be retained. If a person, knowingly and willingly rejects God’s existence, despite the inspiration by the Holy Spirit, how can he/she be forgiven by God?
Many people nurse grudges. They want revenge. Hence, they keep the capital punishment.
They consider forgiveness to be a sign of weakness, even if they want God to forgive them their own abominations. In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus declares: “Unless you forgive, your heavenly Father will not forgive you.”
Forgiveness is a sign of power, security and self-confidence. That is why Jesus forgave those who crucified Him. There will always be things to forgive: Like sins of oppression and injustice and our other regrettable actions.
We need to lay down our pride and forgive and likewise accept forgiveness from God and from one another; and also forgive ourselves. “Blessed are the merciful: they shall have mercy shown them…“What God wants is mercy not sacrifice”, says Jesus (Mt 5:7; 9:13 ).
As we receive His mercy in the Holy Eucharist, let us be prepared to be merciful and forgiving.
There will be no permanent peace until we all become merciful and forgiving. Mercy will create a world of one heart and mind as the first Christians were. And nobody will lack essentials in life.
So, let us trust in God’s mercy and be merciful to others and to ourselves.