Divine Mercy Sunday - April 15, 2012

Let those who fear the LORD say, "His mercy endures forever."  Divine Mercy is the greatest attribute of God.  Mercy is what glorifies God the most, even more than His awesome Justice.  It takes more creative power to bestow Mercy and forgive than it does to punish a soul for all eternity.  In fact the Mercy of God is really the source of all things, even the act of creation itself.  For in creating the universe and each one of us, God did so only out of the infinite goodness of His Mercy.  He had no need of us.  God was perfectly happy before the universe was created and did not need us to exist to make Himself still happier.  It was simply an act of mercy that we are alive at all, and then the Mercy of God goes still further to forgive our sins, even coming to be Man in order to die for our sins.

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday and in this octave of Easter as we continue to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus, we focus especially today to see that the Death and Resurrection of Jesus is the supreme act of Divine Mercy towards us.

In the world today we see so many calls for justice.  People in unfair situations all over the world are calling for justice, and in a way justice should be sought, but never without balancing it with Mercy.  Justice sought only for itself could bring us further into darkness.  When a sin occurs and someone is gravely hurt, it is only natural to want someone to pay.  The greater the injustice, the more our hearts begin to say that someone’s head better role… someone has to pay the penalty.  And yet, justice by itself never really makes anyone feel any better… it only perpetuates still more violence.

Jesus Christ comes as our true God made Man only to face the greatest injustice.  It was harder for Him to become Man than it would be for any of us to become an ant for a few years in order to save a colony of ants from extinction.  Imagine if you kept all of your human personality and intelligence, and hid it beneath the nature of an ant, so that while you were still a human person, you also now had to eat like an ant, carry dirt out like an ant, and live in a dark, crowded ant hole and try to communicate with the other ants on how they could be saved.  Then imagine if the ants turned on you, and kicked you out, and poked at you to death and you returned to being a human being back in your house.  It would be pretty tempting to go up to that little ant hill and just step on it with your heel.

The distance Jesus descended in becoming a Man while remaining a Divine Person is infinitely greater than if any of us became an ant.  While still a Divine person, Jesus was one of us, eating like us, sweating like us, walking with us for 33 years, and then He was rejected, kicked out, falsely condemned, tortured, and crucified for love of us.  Jesus was more innocent than a newly born baby, yet when He suffered the greatest injustice ever, even in the moment of greatest hurt, instead of seeking justice, Jesus cried out “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”  After that cry of Mercy, His Heart was pierced and from it flowed not the bitterness of revenge, but the gentleness of Blood and Water, giving of Himself to us even in the most unjust death.  Our Lord Jesus turned the tide… He allowed all the injustice of the world, all the violence and hatred to be spewed out upon Him, and He conquered it with non-violence, Love, and Divine Mercy.

So today in the Gospel He comes to the apostles who are weak and afraid, and He comes even to Thomas who remains stubborn in his unbelief, and He shows them His pierced Heart.  He invites Thomas to come close…He says,  “bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”  On Good Friday, I spoke about how we can put our struggles, our hurts, and even our sins into the Pierced Heart of Jesus lying in the tomb.  Well, this is a continuation of that.  With Thomas we too can go in spirit with confidence to the Risen Lord Jesus and see His Pierced Heart.  We too can bring our hand with our imagination, and see ourselves reaching up into the side of Jesus, putting our hand right into the gaping wound of His side, until we can touch His Wounded, beating, living Heart.  Wow… to actually touch the beating Heart of God!  No wonder Thomas fell to his knees and cried out, “My Lord and My God.”  We can do the same…

Do you have any place where you have been hurt and you want justice?  Have you ever been hurt by someone and wanted to write a letter, or give them the silent treatment, or avoid them for years, or make them pay in some other way by going to others gossiping and venting?  Have you ever been wounded, hurt, or abused by someone and wonder even subconsciously how they could be made to pay?  Have you ever even cried in anger “go to hell” to someone not realizing that hell is the ultimate desire for justice and punishment?  Justice without Love and Mercy, is only a futile experience of bitterness, revenge, and hatred… and it never makes anyone happier.

On this Divine Mercy Sunday, we need to bring that bitterness, those hurts, those desires for justice and place them in the wounded side of our Risen Lord Jesus.  When we do, we see that He is alive, that He understands, and that His Mercy meets us just as it met Thomas.  When we meet Jesus, the desires for violence, anger, revenge, bitterness, payback… all these are melted away as God’s own Heart loves us in Mercy.

Jesus once said, “Judge not and you will not be judge.  For the measure you measure with, will be measured back to you.”  If we spend our lives bitterly seeking justice, payback… then when we die, our lives will be measured with the same rigorous justice we have chosen.  But if we meet our Lord Jesus, and discover how merciful He has been to us and how much He really does love us, than we will have a far easier time forgiving,… of letting go of that list of hurts.  If we live that type of Mercy, than when we die we have the great Hope that the very same Mercy will be used to measure our life.

Today in Holy Communion, if you are in the state of grace, come forward with confidence desiring to forgive everyone who has hurt you.  And when you receive Jesus in this great Holy Communion of Love, with your imagination alive with Faith, imagine putting your hand into His Wounded Heart, and put in the Fire of His Love all your hurts, bitterness, and struggles to forgive… and then just be with Jesus.  If you truly do this in Faith, your heart will experience a very deep peace.  That peace is the Blood and Water of Divine Mercy flowing over your soul like a great sparkling fountain of Life.