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Second Sunday of Easter, April 19, 2020
Divine Mercy Sunday
God is love. God is a 100% love. The very nature of God is love. God is also mercy. We can’t separate His love and mercy. Today is Divine Mercy Sunday (the 2nd Sunday of Easter). During this pandemic, we especially ask Jesus to bestow His mercy on all souls who are suffering from the Corona virus (COVID19), on all souls who have died from this virus, on all souls in the medical profession who are caring for Corona virus patients, on all souls who are isolated and quarantined because of the virus and on all our government leaders and others working to ensure our safety and health.
Today’s readings speak to us about faith, forgiveness and mission. We celebrate God’s mercy today, throughout the Easter season and always. As we read in today’s second reading from the First Letter of Peter: 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… We received this inheritance at our Baptism. On our part, we must remain steadfast in faith. Jesus has freed us from slavery to sin, leading to spiritual death. Since we have a free will, we can choose to live in freedom or not. We have direct access to the mercy of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said to his disciples: Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained. Jesus forgave sins when He walked this earth, so in the Spirit, He gives the same power to His followers. On the night before He died, at the Last Supper, Jesus ordained His apostles priests. Every ordained priest stands in the person of Jesus Christ, giving us direct access to the Divine Mercy.
Jesus tells His disciples in today’s gospel: As the Father has sent me, so I send you. Jesus commissions them… and He commissions us as well. We are called to be agents of His mercy. St. Faustina saw the Risen Christ, who revealed to her the infinite depth of His mercy. Jesus tells St. Faustina (Diary 742): “I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy towards your neighbor: the first – by deed, the second – by word, the third – by prayer. In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for me…so even the strongest faith is of no avail without works.”
How do we exercise mercy? “The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned and burying the dead.”
May the risen Christ bless us in His mercy!