1st Reading: Acts 5:12-16; 2nd Reading: Revelation 1:9-13, 17-19; Gospel: John 20:19-31.
THEME: DIVINE MERCY: A POWERFUL GIFT TO THE CHURCH!
Today, the Holy Mother Church celebrates the Feast of Divine Mercy, a feast added to the Church’s liturgical calendar by St. John Paul II in honour of St. Maria Faustina. It is a day we celebrate in a very special way the overwhelming, compassionate, unconditional love and mercy of God, which He lavished upon humanity via His Son, Jesus Christ. The mercy which He demonstrated when He came into the world to salvage humanity from that which deprived her of Total Freedom and Peace of Mind.
Also today, we celebrate Mothers’ Day. We remember our mothers in a very special way for cooperating with God in order to give and nurture life in the world through the act of childbearing; those who are generally believed to have tender and compassionate hearts 💕 just like our Blessed Virgin Mary (epitome of compassionate heart) who through the incarnation brought our Saviour, Jesus Christ into the world.
Surprisingly, despite the atrocious acts perpetrated by the Pharisees, Jewish authorities, sycophants, betrayers, deniers, etc during the Passion narrative, yet Jesus Christ still forgave them all without any grudge or malice. He demonstrated His loving mercy upon humanity by wiping away her sins with His precious Blood and sanctified her with the water of Baptism (1 Corinthians 6:11). Hence, God’s saving plan for humanity has been accomplished once and for all by the redemptive death and resurrection of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. This is the heart of the Easter message, and that is where God’s Power 💥 lies.
Meanwhile, one of the most powerful gifts Jesus Christ gave to the world via the Church after His resurrection is “Divine Mercy!” It is a spiritual gift that engenders Love, Faith, Hope, Joy and Peace among the children of God. Without this gift one may be experiencing anxiety, tension, fear and guilty conscience in his or her life. Unfortunately, these often hamper growth, development and conviviality as well as cordial relationships between God and humanity, and also between two persons. So, we all need to embrace the divine mercy.
In the Gospel, after His resurrection, Jesus Christ entrusted His disciples with the responsibility of continuing His redemptive work on earth in drawing humanity closer to God’s friendship by giving them Power 💥 to forgive sins, and thus become agents of His Divine Mercy. Therefore, whenever we commit any sin and go to any priest for confession, by the power endowed on him on the day of his Priestly Ordination he will absorb us and our sins will be forgiven. For the most practical way of showing this mercy is in the forgiveness of sins, which is Christ’s gift to humanity via the Church (John 20:23; Hebrew 8:12).
Moreover, by the virtue of our baptism, we have all been cleansed from original sin and thus become adopted children of God, ipso facto, possessing His attributes of Love, Mercy, Care, Compassion, Community Spirit, Charity, etc. These attributes we possess are the proof that we are really victorious children of God (1 John 5:4). They create habitable atmosphere for the healing Power of God to manifest in our lives, just like the way the early Christians witnessed the power of God in the first reading.
Undoubtedly, everyday we experience the ubiquitous, oceanic, overflowing, unquantifiable, and unconditional Mercy of God in our lives. For God doesn’t treat us according to our sins, but forgives us even before we approach His throne of Mercy. We can attest to this undeniable fact when Jesus Christ forgave the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:1-11), and also when the Prodigal son was forgiven and welcomed back by his Father (Luke 15:11-32).
This is the reason why Jesus Christ enjoins us: “To love our enemies, do good to those who hate us” (Luke 6:27); and also “to forgive those that offend us so that we may as well be forgiven by God and thus have Peace of mind” (Matthew 6:14-15).
Finally, since we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) yet God continues to offer His Divine Mercy (Lamentations 3:22-23; Psalms 103:3-4) to us through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, then we have the moral obligation to extend the same gesture to others because, to refuse to forgive those who have offended us is automatically excluding ourselves from receiving God’s forgiveness. Unless we believe in this Loving Mercy of God without doubt, then the peace and power of God wouldn’t have any effect in our lives.
May the Divine Mercy of God envelope and possess you and your family for great exploit, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen 🙏!
Peace of Christ be with you…
Rev. Fr. Benjamin Okala, C.S.Sp.
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