April 15, 2012
2nd Sunday of Easter
Sunday of the Divine Mercy
“Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
The first step of faith is to believe that God exists. By “God” we mean an Infinite Being who is All Powerful, All Good, All Just and All Merciful. Sometimes people have trouble believing in God because they see the cruelty of the world around them. Just imagine how the Jewish people were tested in their faith when God permitted the NAZIS (National Socialist Party of Germany) to detain and begin to exterminate 6 million of their fellow Jews. How can an All Powerful, All Good God allow that to happen?
God has given us free-will, that we might freely choose to love Him above all things, and appropriately within all things, in order to attain heaven for all eternity after we die. We all must die, but of course, we do not want anyone to die tragically like the Jews did in that genocide. But unfortunately people freely chose to vote for Hitler and his National Socialist Party, and choices have consequences.
When a person chooses freely to love other things more than God, and thereby chooses to live away from God who is deserving of all our love, they help create a disordered life on earth, and if they do not repent, they have chosen to live away from God’s order for all eternity – they have chosen hell.
But how do we know how to love God? God has revealed it in the Bible: “Beloved: Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the Father loves also the one begotten by him. In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments.” 1 John 5:1-3
Clearly, God has given us his Ten Commandments of life and love that we might grow in his life and love. Jesus has perfectly lived God’s Commandments, even to the point of death, and thus he is the Source andSummitof our faith and salvation. Since Jesus is the Author of Life and Love, and was perfectly innocent, then his death is the most tragic of all. But through his suffering he offers forgiveness to all sinners who can choose to repent – before they die – and thus be able to be saved. However, they must go through a certain degree of purifying fire depending on their lack of cooperation in the Church’s mission of salvation, that they be made perfect in order to enter the fullness of heaven. Why does God give sinners a chance to repent and has created a place of purgation? Because God is All Merciful and All Just.
Since all of us are imperfect in our love of God and one another, we need to make reparation for our sins and seek God’s greatest attribute – his Divine Mercy. We experience God’s Divine Mercy fully in the Sacrament of Confession and penance, of which we read about in today’s Gospel. Also, we can read the lives of the Saints who lived out this Divine Mercy, like Saint Maria Faustina. The following is from her diary, which has been reviewed by the Magisterium of the Church, and found to be free of any doctrinal errors.
#367. The Lord Jesus said to Blessed Faustina, “My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls, and especially for poor sinners. If only they could understand that I am the best of Fathers to them, and it is for them that the Blood and Water flowed from My Heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy.”
#441. Blessed Faustina also wrote in her diary, “Once the image (of the Divine Mercy) was being exhibited over the altar during the Corpus Christi procession [June 20, 1935]. When the priest exposed the Blessed Sacrament, and the choir began to sing, the rays from the image pierced the Sacred Host and spread out all over the world. Then I heard these words: “These rays of mercy will pass through you, just as they have passed through this Host, and they will go out through all the world.”
All of us are called to participate in God’s work of Divine Mercy. The ABC’s of God’s mercy: “Ask” for God’s mercy, especially in the Sacrament of Confession; “Be” merciful; “Constantly” trust in Jesus’ mercy. What does mercy look like, look to Jesus himself. The mission of mercy is one: to save body and soul. Corporal Works of Mercy: Feed the hungry, etc. Spiritual Works of Mercy: Instruct the uninformed about Jesus, etc.
An anonymous donor has given the parish the Divine Mercy image for our edification. Divine Mercy devotional aids can be found near the image. Thank you.
Sincerely in Christ,
Father Thomas McCabe