Homily for the 2nd Sunday After Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday)
Dearly beloved, as we gather on this second Sunday of Easter, we celebrate in a very significant way the mercy of God. The whole mystery of Easter is that God raised Jesus from the dead that in his name we may have forgiveness of sins. Being forgiven is solely on the Mercy of God. It is true that as Catholics we do not doubt the mercy of God; however we should be aware of the times we take this mercy for granted and eventually lose it. Our celebration today reminds us again of the love and mercy of God and encourages us to stand vigilant so as not to lose out on his mercy through presumption. We need to appreciate these facts about divine mercy.
1. Divine Mercy depends on the Resurrection.
In the words of St. Paul, “If Christ had not risen from the dead, then our preaching is useless, and so is our faith,” The entire Christian faith is built on the certainty of the Resurrection — and the witness of the early Christians is a key to that. These Christians did not doubt. Neither should we. Without the resurrection, our sins will have remained and there will not be any hope for mercy.
2. Again, through the divine mercy you are set free from the power of Satan and sin. Even now there are many who continue to struggle with many weakness and sins. Some struggle with alcohol, others pornography, some with jealousy, others with unforgiveness, still others with impatience. You see how your life is when you can’t break away from these vices. Divine Mercy is granted in the Power of the Holy Spirit that we are no longer victims of these vices. If you are still struggling, speak to that habit in the name of the Divine Mercy you have received to be freed.
3. Also, having received Mercy you become the agents of God’s mercy in our world. You are to live daily witnessing to this mercy of God. The catechism describes the spiritual works of mercy, as: “Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead … [and] giving alms to the poor” (CCC 2447).
4. The Divine mercy should transform you into the nature of Christ. The message from our first reading describes this transformation.
“The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common.
With great power the apostles bore witness
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great favor was accorded them all.”
In other words, the divine mercy should help you live not for yourself but that Christ may live through you. Your transformation should come from the renewal of your mind, when life means to do things that please God. Living selflessly is the way of Christ.
5. Divine Mercy is obtained through obedience to God and not rebellion.
This is exactly what St. John describes in today’s second reading: “In this way we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and obey his commandments.” Love means doing as Christ commands — even when things get very, very tough. It comes with a daily self check, asking yourself in every step of the way: God, is that what you want me to do?
Our response to the Divine Mercy is secured in the words of Holy Scripture; first in the very events leading to His sacred passion and second, the events characterizing his resurrection. In other words, the very last formal instruction was at the Last Supper, giving them the Eucharist. Then after the resurrection, the very first formal instruction, is what we listened to from the gospel.
“ Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
"Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained."
The Eucharist and the sacrament of reconciliation are the foundation of Divine Mercy. Being forgiven your sins and the punishments due to sin. If only you will organize yourself and avail yourself purposefully in devotion to these two sacraments within this period, you will gain all the necessary indulgences.
Beloved, know that God’s mercy endures forever; however, continuously rejecting his mercy weakens our will. In that, a time will come when we need it most but will be indisposed to accepting it.
Let us continue to celebrate this great mercy we enjoy from a God who has loved us so much.