This Sunday we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast inaugurated by Pope St John Paul II during his papacy. To add extra significance and depth to this celebration, we are marking it during the Year of Mercy called by John Paul II’s successor, Pope Francis. Let us remind ourselves of some of the memorable things Pope Francis has said about God’s mercy:
“God is infinite love, boundless mercy, and that Love has conquered evil at its root through the death and resurrection of Christ. This is the Gospel, the Good News: God’s love has won! Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose again. With him we can fight evil and conquer every day. Do we believe this or not?…But that “yes” has to become part of life! If I believe that Jesus has conquered evil and saved me, I must follow along the path of Jesus for my whole life” (Address, October 4th, 2013)
“I cannot say: I forgive my sins. Forgiveness is asked for, is asked of another, and in confession we ask for forgiveness from Jesus. Forgiveness is not the fruit of our own efforts but rather a gift, it is a gift of the Holy Spirit who fill us with the wellspring of mercy and of grace that flows unceasingly from the open heart of the Crucified and Risen Christ” (General Audience, February 19th, 2014).
It seems that God has been preparing us for this feast of Divine Mercy in the parishes of St Philip’s and St Clare’s for some time now. First we had the 33 Days of Morning Glory retreat back in October/November last year. Then Deacon Louis set up the Men of the Eucharist earlier this year. Then Fred Schubert led us through our Lenten mission which was based on the devotion to Divine Mercy. Now we have started the “Consoling the Heart of Jesus” retreat which is also based on the spirituality of Divine Mercy. This has been all God’s doing- no pastoral strategy behind it from myself or Deacon Mark or Deacon Louis or the PPC!! This is our “Now” word from God at this time: divine mercy!
So I am excited about what God is wanting us to learn from him about his mercy at this time. Join with me in asking him to open our hearts and minds and spirits to his personal revelation to us as individuals, families and parish communities. Remember: the mercy of God is a gift. We must approach it with humility, not a sense of entitlement. Ask God for the humility to receive mercy in his way, not our own. What is he calling us to do as a result of his forgiveness?”