Homily for April 19 - Divine Mercy Sunday

Homily on April 19, 2020

            The psalm today proclaims, “His mercy endures forever.” We behold this mercy in the nurses and doctors caring for COVID patients, when someone washes clothes or dishes for a brother who has a broken leg, whenever a friend says “I forgive you” when forgotten or left behind, a container of soup is left at the front door of a sick neighbor. My friends I say it again, “His mercy endures forever.” And I share with you a quote from St. Pope John Paul II, “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and Hallelujah is our song.”

            For most people the coronavirus pandemic is a testing of faith. During our lifetimes, we all experience trials or testing of our faith: sickness, loss of friends, divorce, unemployment, death, handicaps or disabilities, rejection, and other situations. With this current circumstance of dealing with coronavirus, skepticism might creep into our minds and hearts about God’s mercy and love during this serious period of testing.

            In the gospel today we are told about one of the disciples of Jesus – Thomas. This is a story that I would describe as a skeptic’s act of faith. In John’s gospel after the resurrection of Jesus and his appearance to the disciples [Thomas not present] the skeptic or doubter as Thomas is often referred to says: “Unless I see … (unless I) touch … I will not believe.” This gospel story about Thomas is truly one that depicts a movement from doubt to deeper faith, from skepticism to profound trust.  After seeing and hearing Jesus, Thomas expresses his great statement of faith: “My Lord and my God.”

            Easter is the perfect time to seek and to find Jesus in our lives; an ideal season to be set free by his mercy and love. It is a time to savor with trust, gratitude and belief the saving hand of God extended to us. To allow the rays of Christ’s mercy to touch our weary, skeptical, doubt-filled and wounded hearts. This Second Sunday of Easter is now known also as “Divine Mercy Sunday”. Sr. Faustina was a Polish Sister of Our Lady of Mercy and died in 1938. She had a vision of Jesus – and painted it – google “Divine Mercy” and see this painting or picture. During her prayer one day Sr. Faustina heard Jesus say, “I desire that there be a Feast of Mercy. I want this image, which you will paint with a brush, to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy. I desire that priests proclaim this great mercy of mine towards souls of sinners. Let the sinner not be afraid to approach me. The flames of mercy are burning me – clamoring to be spent; I want to pour them out upon these souls.”

            Today while praying or reading the Bible repeat the words of the psalmist, His mercy endures forever.” Then when you are concluding your prayers or scripture reading offer the words which St. Faustina heard, "Jesus, I trust in you." May the mercy and love of Jesus fill your heart and soul on this “Divine Mercy Sunday”.   - Father John Moser