Saturday, April 30, 2011
May 1, 2011: Second Sunday of Easter (A) - Divine Mercy Sunday
Click to hear audio homily
On Easter Sunday morning as I greeted parishioners prior to the 11:30AM mass, a little 7-year old girl with a beautiful smile caught my eye. As she waved at me and said, "Hi Jesus", I noticed that she had Down syndrome. I thought to myself, ‘How well her parents have taught her about faith!” Then she waved again at me and said, “Hi Mary.” I looked at her dad and said, “She can see people that we can’t see, can’t she?” He replied, “She certainly can.” Her dad must be used to her seeing Jesus and Mary. For me, this was a great way to begin Easter Sunday knowing that the Risen Jesus and his Mother were with us as we celebrated mass.
What would happen if that 7-yr old girl stood near you and said to you, "Hi Jesus, Hi Mary"? Would you be like the Doubting Thomas in our Gospel? Although the other disciples tried to convince him by saying, "We have seen the Lord," Thomas insisted, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” What will it take God to persuade us that He is right here with us?
During this past Lent, I encountered many who see themselves as unlovable--they believe that they are like a cactus plant, meaning that if anyone tried to love them that they would get hurt. When I asked them what brought about these feelings, some said that it was a childhood trauma; some responded that it was a painful divorce, and some commented that it was poor decisions. As they explained their feelings of being unloved, tears fell from their eyes, and I fervently hoped and prayed for their resurrection. In our Second Reading, St. Peter spoke beautifully about this kind of resurrection. He said, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you."
In the 1930's Sister Faustina received from the Lord a message of mercy that she was told to spread throughout the world. She became the apostle and secretary of God's mercy, a model of how to be merciful to others, and an instrument for reemphasizing God's plan of mercy for the world. She obediently and faithfully kept a diary of the messages that she received from the Lord.
Her obedience to the Lord’s will for her eventually resulted in her canonization, as St. Faustina, and the designation of the Second Sunday of Easter (today) as Divine Mercy Sunday. Pope John Paul II, who is being beatified on May 1 in Vatican City, established this feast to celebrate the infinite compassion and mercy of our God. [We see the image of the Divine Mercy here near the sanctuary. If you notice in the image, Jesus has his hands placed on his heart, and from the heart radiates rays of red and white light signifying the blood and water that he shed for us.]