April 12, 2015:Second Sunday Easter B - Divine Mercy Sunday
Click to hear Audio Homily
When you arrive home after a long day of work or busy activities, do you like to plop down on the sofa and turn on the TV? I’ll let you in on a secret. Sometimes when I get back to the rectory in the evening, I like to turn on shows like America’s Funniest Videos or Family Feud to relax. I just have to laugh at the thought of someone trying to answer the question, “We asked 100 people to name something a baby might hide in his diaper if he didn't want his mommy to leave home."
It was a big surprise to me to find out what Rick Warren--the author of the book “The Purpose Driven Life” and the pastor of an Protestant mega-church Saddleback Church in California--watches after a long day of work. He said in an interview, “Whenever I had a stressful day, I’ll come home and watch a taped show called, ‘The Chaplet of Divine Mercy,’ with my wife Kay. We’ll put it on and sit back, relax, and worship. And in that time of reflection, meditation, and quietness, I find myself renewed and restored. It’s one of my favorite shows on EWTN.” What is it about the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, a Catholic prayer, that attracts even a well-known Protestant minister who leads a weekly congregation of 20,000 people. We turn to St. Faustina's diary for an explanation. In an apparition to St. Faustina, Jesus told her, "Oh, what great graces I will grant to souls who say this Chaplet...let all mankind recognize my unfathomable mercy...let them have recourse to the fount of my mercy; let them profit from the blood and water which gushed forth for them" (Diary of St. Faustina, 848) .
Why does Jesus asks us to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet? Is it just another devotional prayer among many? What Jesus revealed to St. Faustina is that God's greatest attribute is His Mercy. Unfortunately, many of us do not know this nor understand what it means. Many of us don't trust God that He is merciful. I've encountered many people who left the Church after a loved one's death, after a tragedy, after divorce, or after being hurt by someone in the Church. In their pain, they lost trust in God. They asked, 'how can God who is supposed to be good allow this pain and suffering to happen?' They need God's mercy the most, but they do not ask for His Mercy because they don't trust. Many are quick to presume God as a just judge who is swift to punish or that God does not care. But that is not the Heavenly Father that Jesus reveals. Pope Francis said: “It is not easy to entrust oneself to God's mercy, because it is an abyss of beyond our comprehension. But we must! ...’Oh, I am a great sinner!’ All the better! Go to Jesus: He likes you to tell him these things! He forgets, He has a very special capacity for forgetting. He forgets, He kisses you, He embraces you and He simply says to you: "Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more" (Jn 8:11).
It's because so many do not know, trust, or ask for God's mercy that Jesus desired the Second Sunday of Easter to be declared as the Divine Mercy Sunday. He said to St. Faustina, “My daughter, tell the whole world about My Inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet.” (Diary of St. Faustina, 699)
We put limits on what God can and is willing to do. We heard in today’s Gospel “Doubting Thomas” refusing to believe. But once Thomas is invited to put his finger into the very place where Jesus’ heart was pierced, from where the water and blood flowed out, he relinquishes his doubt and then he trusts. Have there been times when you doubted or did not trust in God? Are you also doubting that you can be forgiven? Go to Jesus. Say to him, “Jesus, I trust in You!”
-Fr. Paul Yi