Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Feast of Divine Mercy

Today, we celebrated the Feast of Divine Mercy. It was proclaimed a feast by Pope John Paul II a few years ago. The whole point, as it follows so closely after Easter, is to remember the Passion and Resurrection--His great mercy poured out for the world--and to pray for His mercy for both ourselves, and for all the world.

To quote our parish priest, Fr. Joe:

"It is very important for us to celebrate this feast because the mercy of God is at the heart of the Gospel. This is why God became man, suffered, died on the cross, and rose from the dead, so that we might know the great love and mercy of God. How sad that so many in the world do not know of the mercy of God. If we believe in what we celebrated last Sunday, then we must believe in God's love and mercy; and if we believe in His Divine Mercy, then we must seek that mercy and proclaim it to all we meet." (quoted from our church bulletin)

The focus of our prayers this morning was to ask God for His mercy for us (forgiveness of sins), and for the whole world. What an incredible gift God has given us, to be given such a thing freely. And all we have to do is accept that gift. But there is also a responsibility for us. We must not only accept that gift, but we must share it with everyone with whom we come into contact. A mission of mercy...giving freely of what we have received.

Sometimes, it's not easy to offer that mercy. Someone does something we feel is too hard for us to forgive. When we think of all we have been forgiven, though, it reminds us that nothing is truly unforgivable. Difficult, maybe. But not impossible.

It's also tough to accept mercy at times. We feel we have gone too far or disappointed God too much. His mercy doesn't end just because our conscience condemns us. Remember? The law was given to condemn us; to point out how sinful we were, and to show how far we fall short of God's standard. Christ came to fulfill the law!

"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death."
(Romans 8:1, 2)

Aren't those words liberating?

"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)

My dear brother or sister, accept this free gift of His divine mercy. Of course, we're not worthy. That's why it's a gift! Accept it, then freely share it with those around you. The world is in desperate need of His Divine Mercy.

"For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world." *

"Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless, and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us, and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments, we might not despair, nor become despondent, but with great confidence, submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy Itself. Amen." *

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

* from the Prayers of the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy


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