2nd Sunday of Easter: Divine Mercy Sunday By Fr. Baltazar Obico, OFM

Today some of our parishioners are in Rome, together with many other pilgrim-Filipinos as they join the whole church in celebration of the canonization of two Popes, John XXIII and John Paul II. Those of us who are familiar with the life of John Paul II, know the reason for setting this date as canonization day. It was he who established this feast at the canonization of Saint Faustina in April 2000. Not only did he establish this feast of Divine Mercy but by God’s Providence, he died on the vigil of that feast, 5 years later on April 2, 2005.

John Paul II last words, written from his deathbed, called for greater acceptance and understanding of Divine Mercy. Those words which he exhorted the faithful to pray, ended with the words, “Jesus, I trust in you, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

The message of Divine Mercy was given to the whole world by the Lord, through St. Faustina, who is primarily for the final outpouring of a whole ocean of graces and for the total forgiveness of sins and punishment for any soul that would go to confession and receive communion on the feast of Divine Mercy.

GOSPEL: Divine Mercy, an Earlier Gift.
St. Faustina wrote in this diary – that Jesus said, “Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to God’s mercy, Divine Mercy.” This is the Easter gift that the church receives from the risen Christ and offers to humanity.

The gospel helps us to grasp the full sense and value of this gift. John makes us share the emotion felt by the apostles in their meeting with Christ after his resurrection. Our attention focuses on the gesture of the master who transmits to the fearful, astounded disciples the mission of being ministers of Divine Mercy, showing them His hands and His side. Immediately afterwards, “He breathed on them and said to them: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven, if you retain it, they are retained.” Jesus entrusted to them the gift of forgiving sins, a gift that flows from the wounds on His Hands, His feet, especially from His pierced side. From here a wave of mercy is poured out over all humanity.

Today, the Lord also shares with us His glorious wounds and His heart, an inexhaustible source of light and truth, of love and forgiveness. The two rays denote blood and water, the blood recalls the mystery of the eucharist and the water, the symbol of baptism. Through the mystery of this wounded heart, the restorative tide of God’s merciful love continues to spread to our homes. Here alone can those who long for peace find its secret.

Today the feast invites us to abandon ourselves trustfully in Jesus’ mercy. Often our distrust of mercy is not a clear-cut attitude, but takes on the form of resistance and reluctance. Very soon we procrastinate. We are frustrated at our shortcomings, like being short-tempered, impatient and lacking charity; we become frustrated even more that we have to admit to them, even to ourselves, never to God, not to speak of the priest. Without even being conscious of it, we rationalize it; justify it; then we start calling sins psychological hang-ups. We blame the church for giving us guilt-complexes; for being out of date in its moral doctrine. We blame our parents, whether living or dead, for these hang ups. We blame our siblings, teachers, government. We don’t want to accept responsibility and culpability. At the root of this resistance lie the mystery of iniquity. It is what the Bible calls original sin – Sin of Pride. Pride would have us believe that we are beyond right and wrong, grace and sin, redemption or perdition. Behind the societal and personal loss of objective morality lies a distrust of Divine Mercy.

1.) Today the gospel invites us to experience the Divine mercy in the means he gives for sins to be forgiven, especially in the sacrament of reconciliation. Do I postpone going to confession or simply rebel against the sacrament? Why should I confess to a priest? Isn’t private, personal prayers as good as a sacramental confession?

2.) Sin is what saps our energy, disturbs our peace, creates wrinkes in our countenance, makes our blood and pressure rise and makes us insomniacs. Divine Mercy sought in the sacrament of confession flush out the negativities caused by sin and open our hearts to the waters of divine mercy. How many marriages and homes would be preserved, strengthened and be the locus of wholeness, joy and health if we have but the courage, and trust to pour fourth our pain, sorrow and guilt before Jesus and learn to be compassionate and forgiving of one another.

Brothers and Sisters, Jesus desires that this feast be a refuge and shelter for all….especially for poor sinners.

More about Fr. Tasang and his reflections