Receiving God's mercy, we pass it to others

Kathleen Giffin

WORD MADE FLESH

Divine Mercy Sunday – April 3, 2016
Acts 5.12-16 | Psalm 118 | Revelation 1.9-13, 17-19 | John 20.19-31
March 21, 2016

The Second Sunday of Easter is a special day for all Catholics; in this Jubilee Year of Mercy we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. We have not long had this feast on our Church calendar; in 2000, our most recent year of jubilee, Pope John Paul II proclaimed this to be Divine Mercy Sunday.

This jubilee year, it carries a greater significance for we celebrate it in the midst of a year set apart for us to reflect deeply on God's call to mercy and for us to become signs of mercy to the world.

Clearly our recent popes are of one mind in their strong conviction of the importance of this theme of mercy. So where are we to start in pondering this message and becoming witnesses to this truth? The readings in the liturgy this Sunday suggests three ways to respond.

From the Acts of the Apostles we hear of the many people who flocked to join the believers, bringing the sick for healing. The psalmist prays, "Save us, we beseech you, O Lord."

A great number of people would gather, . . . bringing the sick and those tormented by unclean spirits. - Acts 5.16

'A great number of people would
gather, . . .
bringing the sick and those tormented by unclean spirits.'

Acts 5.16

We too must come seeking mercy. We cannot be the means by which others receive mercy if we have not yet ourselves experienced that mercy.

The heart of divine mercy is this: God's mercy is greater than our sins. His mercy is greater than our weakness, than our fear, greater than our blindness and our bondage.

Now is the time for us to join with those early believers and with the psalmist in seeking God's mercy that we might be saved, that we might be set free.

The disciples are gathered in the upper room when Jesus appears in their midst and says, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."

These are his words to us as well. Having received his mercy, we are to bring that mercy to others. We are to be merciful, to be bearers of mercy, to be witnesses to mercy, to be instruments of mercy.

There is no better witness to faith than the one who lives a life of mercy; forgiving the wrongs of others and caring for those who suffer.

Finally, we are to completely trust in Jesus. Jesus appears to John on the island of Patmos and tells him, "Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last. . . . I am alive forever and ever; and I have the keys of death and of Hades."

He is Lord of all. He is risen from the dead and he reigns forever. That in itself is enough reason for our trust - but all the more reason we have when we remember his love for us.

St. Thomas Aquinas defined love as willing the good of the other for the sake of the other. That is the nature of God's love for us. His love wills our good, for our sake. How then could we not trust completely?

(Kathleen Giffin kgif@telus.net)