April 19, 2020 – Divine Mercy Sunday

“With love in our hearts, let us cry out, ‘My Lord and my God’ and with hope in the Mercy of God, let us sing, ‘Jesus, I trust in You!’”

(Based on Acts 2:42-47, 1 Pet 1:3-9 and Jn 20:19-31)

It was the winter of 1931, in the land of Poland.

It was the Convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy.

Sister Faustina was having another apparition of Jesus

And this was to be a very special day.

She saw Jesus dressed in a white garment. He held one hand raised in blessing, and the other hand touched his garment at the heart-level.

From that point in his garment, two bright rays of light emanated – one red and the other pale.

Jesus then spoke to her, “The two rays denote Blood and Water.

The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous.
The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls.
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.”

He then said to her, “Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapter and then throughout the world.

I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish.
I also promise victory over enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory”

These private revelations to Saint Faustina led to the spreading of the devotion of the Divine Mercy of Jesus.

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Divine Mercy of Jesus – commemorating His deep love for us in His Passion, Death and Resurrection and celebrating His immense compassion and longing for each and every soul.

The Gospel of the Day is another Resurrection account of the Risen Lord to His Apostles.

Thomas was not with the group on the previous occasion that the Lord appeared to His chosen ones.

And so when the Lord makes His appearance, He especially calls out on Thomas, to experience and believe in His Risen Body: “Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving but believe” (Jn 20:27)

Jesus came to the world to “seek and save the lost” (Lk 19:10)

Thomas, the Apostle, was lost…
… was lost in doubts over the reports and talks about the Resurrection of the Lord
… was lost within himself on whether he could trust the words of his companions, who often had wavered, even in the past, over many matters
… was lost in missing out a chance to encounter His Master since he had stayed away from the community.

But the Good Shepherd now comes in search of this “lost” sheep. And this sheep submits to the mercy and compassion of the Shepherd…

“My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:28) were the confessing words of Thomas to Jesus, His Master.

The Lord displays His incredible mercy to Thomas, the “lost” sheep, who was willing to be found.
The Lord manifests His compassionate mercy, to Thomas, His “chosen” one, who was ready to humble himself before the Lord.

This then is the great lesson that we can learn: The Lord is willing to be found, by those who seek Him

The Lord is waiting to be experienced, by those who want Him
The Lord is wanting to be encountered, by those who long for Him

The early Christian community found much strength in seeking the Lord in “the breaking of Bread” and in their joyful communion with another – and this united witness was a great way of drawing many people to the Love of the Lord

“Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people.
And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved!” (Acts 2:46-47)

St Peter invites us to remain firm and faithful to the Lord – even in moments of trials and struggles – because the Lord’s Mercy always accompanies us:
“In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith – being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Although you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls!” (1 Pet 1:6-9)

The Mercy Sunday is a wonderful invitation to plunge ourselves in the ocean of the Lord’s mercy and compassion.

Thomas sought to touch the Lord… but the Lord Himself touched his heart!

We seek the Lord…
… but the Lord seeks much more to come into our lives.

We long for the Lord…
… but the Lord longs much more strongly for our souls.

We search for the Lord…
… but the Lord searches much more to embrace us in love.

This Feast of the Mercy Sunday also is a beautiful reminder and invitation to experience the love and mercy of the Lord, in the two treasures that Holy Mother the Church constantly offers – the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The Image of the Divine Mercy points to these two Sacraments…

The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous – The Sacrament of Reconciliation (along with the Sacrament of Baptism)
The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls – The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist

In the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the Mercy of the Lord waits on us…
… to receive Him more frequently
… to live Him more in our lives
… to honour Him more often

In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Mercy of the Lord longs for us…
… to accept His offer of life and blessings
… to receive us back, with all our sins washed away
… to go back to His embrace of sanctity by living a holy life

The priests of the Lord are reminded, on this day, of the powerful duty and task that they need to faithfully ensure towards the celebration of the Holy Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

These are the two powerful channels through which the mercy of the Lord flows, and the priests alone are chosen and entrusted to handle these Sacraments of grace and mercy!

It’s indeed the greatest privilege and the same time, the most sacred duty and function for a Priest.

Therefore…

Priests have a bounden responsibility, to be always ready for these sacraments
Priests have a bounden task, to be always willing to administer these sacraments
Priests have a bounden duty, to be always open to allow God’s mercy to flow through them

Divine Mercy Sunday 2020 however is different, as most of us – owing to the sickness around us – may be unable to go to the Church.

However, we can still very much receive the Graces and the Blessings of this Great Feast Day.

Let us seek to do three things on this Divine Mercy Sunday with the intention to turn away from our sins:

  1. Make an Act of Contrition: Since we are unable to get to Confession, make an Act of Contrition, instead (in a family or a community, as far as possible, together – Make a Prayer of Reconciliation, Read a relevant Bible passage, Spend some time in Examining the Conscience and make the Prayer of Contrition)

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Among the penitent’s acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is ‘sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again'” (1451).
We will be completely forgiven of all sins, even “mortal sins, if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible” (Catechism, 1452).

  1. Make a Spiritual Communion: Ask the Lord to come into our hearts as if we received Him sacramentally — Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

We can pray: “My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire You in my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though You were already there, I embrace You and unite myself to You; permit not that I should ever be separated from You, Amen!”

Again, do this act of trust with the intent to return to the Sacrament of Holy Communion as soon as possible.

  1. Pray for the Reception of the Grace of this Feast Day and engage in an Act of Mercy: This act of Mercy should make us to Offer God’s Mercy to a person in need
    (eg: Reconciling with someone with whom you are not very okay, reaching out in help to a needy person, praying for any particular intention/people etc.)

Yes, let this Feast of the Mercy Sunday be a day to re-consecrate ourselves to the Mercy of the Lord.
… Let this Feast of the Mercy Sunday be a day to re-commit ourselves in showing mercy and compassion to all the people in our lives.

Passion for God and Compassion for His people!

With love in our hearts, let us cry out, “My Lord and my God” and with hope in the mercies of God, let us sing, “Jesus, I trust in You!”

Let us seek to live as Missionaries of Mercy!

May our Blessed Mamma, the Compassionate Mother of Mercy, always intercede for us!

Happy Feast of the Mercy of God!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Our misery is the throne of God’s mercy!”

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