Summary: Mercy and love are two sides of the same coin.
Seeds for Sowing, Vol. XI, Issue 2, No. 9
Second Sunday of Easter - Year C
Divine Mercy Sunday
April 15th, 2007
* Rev. 1:9 - 11a, 12-13, 17-19
* Jn. 20:19-31
Mercy-Love’s Other Name
Divine Mercy Sunday
A few years ago, Pope John Paul II declared that today would be known, not only as the Second Sunday of Easter, but also as Divine Mercy Sunday. Possibly, he was inspired to make this change because of the writings of St. Faustina, who had a special devotion to the Divine Mercy.
In one of the entries in her diary St. Faustina records these words as coming from the Lord: "My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls...Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy...Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy." (Diary of St. Faustina Kowalska, # 699)
What The World Needs Now
It doesn’t require much brilliant insight to see that mercy is probably the most needed thing on the face of this earth. If we had mercy on one another and on this earth that we live on, things would look so much different. We would live in peace with one another, wars would by and large cease to exist, our planet would not be struggling for survival, sufferers from AIDS and poverty would not have to wake up each day with despair in their hearts.
If we are honest with ourselves, we will probably discover that mercy is also one of our greatest needs. Isn’t it true that we are often the ones who are hardest on ourselves? We can’t escape from ourselves, so we are the first to see how stupid and sinful we are, and we are also the first to punish ourselves for being that way. We call ourselves names, compare ourselves to others who almost always look better than we do-sometimes we even give up on ourselves.
The Hundred Dollar Bill
A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a one hundred-dollar bill. In the room of two hundred, he asked, "Who would like this one hundred-dollar bill?" Hands started going up. He said, "I am going to give this one hundred dollar bill to one of you but first, let me do this." He proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up. He then asked, "Who still wants it?" Still the hands were up in the air. "Well," he replied, "What if I do this?" And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now all crumpled and dirty. "Now who still wants it?" All hands were still in the air.
"My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. Because this bill did not decrease in value. It is still worth one hundred dollars. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value in God’s eyes."
Both nations and individuals need to hear the cry for mercy that rises from the earth each day. Today we are asked to remember that God is a God of Mercy, unending, all-forgiving, complete and total mercy. As we allow ourselves to be totally immersed in the mercy of God, we will come to experience the forgiveness we so deeply need. And once forgiven, it will be so much easier to bring forgiveness and mercy to others. How could we possibly withhold mercy and forgiveness from others once we ourselves feel its power in our lives?
In our reading from the Acts of the Apostles we are told that the sick and those tormented by unclean spirits were all cured. This curing of the physical ills and the inner tormentings of people was the sign that God gave to the first believers. And, in the Gospel, Jesus appears and confers the power to forgive sins. All of these physical, inner, and spiritual healings were signs of the Divine Mercy. The gift of God’s mercy is still being given today. We experience it through the Sacraments and through the mercy of other men and women who come into our lives with God’s healing.
But don’t forget this: We must be cautious lest we withhold mercy from others. It’s not hard to do. Our harsh judgements, anger, gossip, jealousy, and many other negative attitudes we often bring forth can push mercy out of the room. It’s so easy to find ourselves talking about others, judging others, placing ourselves above others.