On the Mercy of God

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2016/04/03 at 12:00 AM

• Today is an extraordinary day in the life of the Church, for today is Divine Mercy Sunday, and it is the day that two of our more recent popes: Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, are being canonized!
• The canonization of Pope John Paul II today is especially important, for it was John Paul II who gave us this remarkable feast of Divine Mercy Sunday in 2000.
• More remarkable even still, John Paul II died on the vigil of this feast in 2005, and he was beatified on this same feast day in 2011.
• Many of you are familiar with St. Faustina, the Polish nun who received apparitions of our Lord Jesus in the 1930s. In these visions our Lord asked St. Faustina to spread a message around the world.
• The message from our Lord was simple: that God’s mercy is deeper and richer and greater than any of us can ever imagine – and that it is available to all mankind, most especially the worst of sinners.
• Jesus first appeared to St. Faustina in 1931, dressed in white and holding His left hand to His chest while holding His right hand as if giving a blessing – as can be seen in the Divine Mercy image.
• From our Lord’s wounded chest flowed two rays: one of red, denoting blood; the other of a lighter shade, denoting water – just as flowed from His side pierced by the centurion’s lance. The pale ray stands for the water that makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood that is the life of souls.
• Upon appearing to St. Faustina in this way, Jesus said to her: “These two rays issued forth from the very depths of My tender mercy when My agonized heart was opened by a lance on the Cross. These rays shield souls from the wrath of My Father. Happy is the one who dwells in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him.”
• Jesus appeared to St. Faustina because He wants us to receive His mercy now while we are alive on earth, for after we die we must face His justice. And without His mercy, we will perish. Please understand: none of us will make it to Heaven on our own merits. His mercy is our only hope for Heaven.
• Thus, Our Lord desired that this Sunday after Easter be consecrated to His Divine Mercy, and of this feast Jesus said to St. Faustina:
I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. (Divine Mercy in My Soul, n. 699.)
• If you’ve never taken the time to read St. Faustina’s Diary, which is called Divine Mercy in My Soul, I cannot recommend it highly enough to you. For in reading this diary, one is given a clear understanding of the great love our Lord has for all sinners – and how much He desires to give us sinners His mercy.
• Truly, it’s one of the Church’s greatest spiritual treasures from the 20th century. Not only does it tell us of God’s incredible and inexhaustible mercy, but it also tells us how to live a life of mercy, to be merciful to others by treating them with true Christian charity.
• In short, our Lord wants us to know that His love and mercy are greater than any sins we can ever commit. He wants us to know that He loves us no matter how great our sins may be.

• Truly, Jesus is offering us more than just forgiveness for sins. He desires to give us incredible graces to heal and strengthen our souls from whatever spiritual maladies we may suffer from.
• So today is a day of mercy for us. Thus, it is a day for miracles. I encourage all of you to take the time to consider the areas of your lives that are most in need of God’s mercy and healing and to ask for a miracle of mercy!
• Furthermore, Jesus was emphatic with St. Faustina that this devotion to His Divine Mercy is important, because as He said to her: “You will prepare the world for My final coming. (DMIMS, n. 429).
• That’s why today’s feast is so important. According to Saint Faustina’s diary, Jesus said of this feast day:
I am giving them the last hope of salvation; that is, the Feast of My Mercy. If they will not adore My mercy, they will perish for all eternity… tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near. (DMIMS, n. 965)
• And so there is very definitely an urgency in Christ’s words to St. Faustina, an urgency that perhaps our Lord’s 2nd coming isn’t that far in the offing. So today is also a day to think about our sins and truly repent of them.
• But even if the end of the world is still a long way away, we certainly never know when we will die. Any of us can be called to judgment at any time. So we must take advantage of the great graces being held out to us today!
• In fact, any Catholic who attends Mass and receives Holy Communion today, goes to confession within 20 days, and offers prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father, may receive a plenary indulgence for the remission of sin.
• As always, we should do these things “in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin.” (Apostolic Penitentiary Decree)
• So that we might all take part in these graces, I ask all of you to please kneel and to reflect for a moment on your sins. Think as well on any areas of your life in which you need a miracle of mercy.
• Together we will first recite An Act of Contrition, followed by an Our Father and the Creed, and the phrase “Jesus, I trust in You” three times. As we do, make a firm act of the will to reject all of your sins and repent of them. Confidently ask as well for any miracle of mercy you may need.

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio.
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