Sunday, April 12, 2015

2nd Sunday in Easter - Divine Mercy Sunday

"I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings." (Hosea 6:6-7)
"I desire mercy, not sacrifice.  For I have come to call not the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew 9:13)

On Divine Mercy Sunday, the floodgates through which all the graces of heaven flow are open.  Our Lord’s love and mercy freely pours out like the sunshine on a bright clear day; showering down on all human kind.  We, his beloved children, need only to stand in the Light of God, repenting our sins – opening ourselves to his mercy and grace.

Jesus promised that on the first Sunday after Easter that: “The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain the complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.” (Diary 699)  What a tremendous opportunity Divine Mercy Sunday presents to us!  
Repent, ask God for forgiveness and receive his mercy and love.  Wipe the slate clean and begin anew - walk in the Light of God, sinless.  Take up our discipleship in Christ Jesus, live fully our life of love and good works – be the face of Jesus to all we meet, spread the good news to the whole world and love our brothers and sisters in Christ.

I once received one of those chain emails we get too often.  Most of the time I get prayer chains (goes with the territory of being a Deacon, I guess), but this one was different.  This email was empty of love and good fellowship.  It lacked both of Jesus’ two commandments: to love God above all things and to love our brothers and sisters as we love ourselves. 

This email had a list of fourteen statements - each advocating no love for our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ – those seeking a life away from poverty, oppression and corruption.  People: - men, women and children - who come here to our shores, to the land of milk and honey - hoping for a better life.

It is easy to vilify the alien, the stranger, placing the blame on them for a variety of problems; saying, “if we keep them out - all our problems will be solved,” but in our hearts we know that is not true and - certainly we know in our hearts it is not the way we are called to live as Disciples of Christ.

  • Jesus asks us to look into the faces of each of these least of his people and see His face
  • Jesus asks us to look into the suffering lives of each of these people and see His suffering (for our salvation)
  • Jesus asks us to look into the hearts of each of these people and see His heart - burning with love for all God’s children

The Word of God, Jesus, the Christ, asks us to live our lives in a radical new way.  He calls us into discipleship by looking at the world through his eyes; seeing each of us as beloved children of God.  Just as Jesus is not of this world, we too, as Disciples of Christ, are not of this world, - a world which worries itself over worldly things, - but we are called to aspire to higher things – to the things from above.

In Matthew, Jesus tells us: 
Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. 
Are you not of more value than they?
And can any of you - by worrying - add a single hour to your span of life? Matthew 6:25-27

Jesus asks us to trust in him - by living his Word – to love as he loves – completely - without hesitation: 
To love our brothers and sisters and not count the cost, 
  • To love others as we would love ourselves,
  • To share our abundance with those who have less; - with those who have nothing,
  • To care for the sick, the sorrowful, and the lonely as we too desire care
  • He asks us to greet the stranger with love and hospitality, to welcome him; giving him, comfort and shelter
  • Jesus tells us to speak up for the voiceless, the vulnerable and the oppressed; 
  • To make room at the head of the table for the poor, the outcast and the displaced, so they too may have their fair share in God’s bounty
  • Jesus asks us to be peace makers, speaking out against oppressors and warmongers who - for lust and greed, - pride and envy, - fear and hate  - victimize and conquer the weak and defenseless
As disciples of Christ - we can do no less than to be the face of Jesus;   To be called followers of Christ, - to wear the name of Christian - is to live the Gospel message, not only this day, but everyday - and in every way.

So, on this day the Lord has made – on this Divine Mercy Sunday, - when God’s unending love and mercy is poured out through the gates of heaven - let us ask God for mercy and forgiveness of our sins - for what we have done, - for what we have failed to do – and for what might do better.  

Let us seek God’s abundant grace poured forth from the Fount of Christ’s Mercy, - for us and for our salvation.

Trust in Jesus, - Believe in the Gospel - and Love as He loves - by loving God and all our brothers and sisters in the world. 
Deacon Don

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