2nd Sunday of Easter ~ 24 April 2022 ~ Bible Readings for Mass: I. Acts 5: 12-16; Responsorial: Psalm 118; II: Revelation: 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19; Gospel: John 20: 19-31
It is the Second Sunday of Easter, also Divine Mercy Sunday. For many, the miraculous image of the Merciful Jesus has been a source of hope, grace, and mercy as the infinitely grace-filled words are prayed: “Jesus I trust in you.” The image of the Chapel of Divine Mercy beautifully expresses the majesty and holy awe we discover in the mercy of God. Yet it can also portray something else.
The devotions of Divine Mercy may be true means of seeking and growing closer to Jesus and His mercy. But sometimes we can find ourselves struggling with the immensity and complexity of these beautiful devotions. This same challenge can apply as we celebrate this Second Sunday of Easter. Starting with Easter Sunday let’s be honest, the truth and power of our Risen Christ can be obscured amidst the candy, eggs, and sometimes even our devotions. As we look to the Divine Mercy of our Risen Lord and Savior it is imperative we remember it is about knowing God and God’s mercy!
As we heed the messages of mercy St. Faustine shared, as we listen carefully to the Scriptures for this holy day we can hear Jesus longing for each of us, for all of us, to know and live His mercy.
It is sometimes easier to obscure the mercy of God in our complexity of devotions or our concerns and debates as to with whom or how God’s mercy may be shared. Our human nature loves to organize and quantity life in many dimensions but, sadly even with God and the mercy that would flow from His Sacred Heart. These manipulations are often applied to others in vague theological wanderings. But they are also applied, often, to ourselves. We have great difficulty in simply allowing God to show, and give us His mercy. We generate complex excuses and penitential labyrinths in which we feel our hearts must wander IF the mercy of Jesus is to be known. The journeys of conversion and penance are very real and needed in our journey for God. But they must be led by God. Not by our ignorance, fears, or doubts. In our Gospel, we read the familiar story of doubting Thomas. He was stuck in doubt and ignorance. But Jesus who knew Thomas’s heart (and ours) brought Thomes to the time and place of mercy. Jesus brought Thomas to His wounds and his heart was healed by God’s mercy.
To know God, and the Divine Mercy we celebrate and proclaim as Christians is about following the example of Thomas and all the saints. We are called to grow in knowing Jesus in a genuine, dynamic, loving relationship. This mercy-immersed relationship is not near as complex as we would make it.
Christ calls us to RECEIVE Him and His mercy. Created in the image of God we are created in love. This brings us the freedom and responsibility to choose. Will we abide in sin and guilt? Will we follow the ways of sin and evil or the ways of God? Will we follow Christ? It is as we come to Christ who was crucified and is risen we live out our choices. Is my faith in God’s mercy or my guilt? Is my sin, or are the sins of anyone greater than God? As we choose God we are liberated to receive the mercy God won for us on Calvary and in the tomb.
But this mercy we receive from our Savior is not meant to be hidden and kept for ourselves alone. God’s mercy must needs be SHARED. Mercy is a living, holy grace from the pierced heart of Jesus. It is infinite and eternal in the qualities and graces of Heaven. But it can be quenched and oppressed by the same free will we needed when we chose Christ. Sadly in our world and in the Body of Christ, His Church, the mercy of God is being suppressed by those who would judge and pretend they can decide how, when to whom God’s mercy may flow. Satan, the great thief would seek to rob the mercy of God from any soul. We must realize, often daily, that the Divine Mercy of Jesus is called for in and through our lives and towards those God brings into our lives.
And as we receive and share the Savior’s holy mercy we grow in knowing it needs to be Nurtured and Exercised among us. And in the beautiful prayers and devotions, we find the Holy Spirit will nurture His mercy in us. In the Bread of Angels, Christ’s sacred Body and Blood the greatest nurture of mercy is received. It is a reality of life in this difficult world that we will encounter times, places, and people where it is impossible to share the mercy of Jesus that is so needed. It is in those very real challenges that the nurture of God will help us to know the Holy Spirit’s Presence to empower us to be people of God’s mercy. It is in those Ways of the Cross we exercise that mercy of Christ to grow ever stronger with and in Him.
To know the mercy of God is to realize and learn that God and His mercy is beyond any ability we have to understand, organize or quantify the Presence and Power of the mercy of Jesus. But it is also to grow in the realization that we are each called, together to be a people of God’s mercy. We are called to know, deeply the mercy of Jesus in our hearts. And we are called to faithfully live and share His mercy with others.
Perhaps when we are tempted to worry or think our sins or the sins of another are too immense for God’s mercy that His mercy is like the lilies shown below. God’s mercy is beyond counting. It goes far beyond what we see. God’s mercy, His love is eternal and infinite. It is then we freely can pray: Jesus I trust in you!.”