Deacon Jerry’s Reflection, Divine Mercy Sunday
Forty days of Lent, then Easter. Some of us were able to gather as we traditionally have for Easter and some of us were not able to gather. Why did the Church, in it’s wisdom, place Divine Mercy Sunday immediately after Easter? We are still in the Easter season until Pentecost. This is a time when we try to spiritually absorb the message of the Paschal Mystery and prepare to take it out into time of preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Divine Mercy Sunday is an immediate reminder of the message of Easter. Christ rescued us from our sinful ways. We can become excited about the Resurrection. It is a proof that we have the opportunity to be resurrected from the dead. The Ascension will give us hope that we may someday ascend to heaven.
But before we get caught up with the future, with the promises of heaven we have to focus on the here and now. We have to focus on what Christ is asking of us. In today’s Gospel Jesus gives Thomas the opportunity to reconcile. Thomas, the doubter, was skeptical about the Resurrection and Christ offers him proof so that he may believe, so that we might believe. In a different liturgical year on the Third Week of Easter we have the wonderful encounter with Christ at the the seashore. Jesus asks Peter three times “do you love me”. Christ is using a word for love which is in effect asking Peter will you give your life for me. Peter is responding I love you like a brother.
In other parts of the Easter Season we have the road to Emmaus and other witnesses that Christ is truly risen but Divine Mercy Sunday is the Sunday that gives us the reason why his resurrection is important to me, an unworthy sinner. He came to forgive our sins and he came to show us infinite mercy.
This is a consistent theme throughout the Gospels. The Prodigal Son, Dismas, (the Good Thief), Thomas in today’s Gospel and Peter at the shore, God will show us his mercy.
We do not earn mercy, it is a gift freely given by an all powerful God who asks only one thing in return. He asks us to turn away from sin. We are like the adulterous woman. Jesus tells her I do not condemn you but go and sin no more.
Divine Mercy Sunday is the reminder that we have just been given the greatest gift of all; forgiveness for our sin. It is a reminder that we are called to change. Forgiveness is not God accepting our sin. Forgiveness is God accepting that we are sinners and having faith that we can change. The immediacy of Divine Mercy Sunday is our accepting this offer of mercy from God so that we can be prepared as we are filled with the Holy Spirit to go forth and proclaim the Good News.
Peace be with you this Divine Mercy Sunday,