Catholic homily for Divine Mercy Sunday Year B
Theme: Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya
By: Unending mercy
Homily for Sunday April 11 2021
1 John 5:1-7
On this Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, we remember the dedication of this day by Saint John Paul II in the year 2000, in honour of St. Faustina’s vision of Christ in which the Lord’s heart radiated forth with divine mercy for the world. But what does mercy mean? It means God’s loving heart, a type of compassion, a deep, loving identification with people in their suffering. It is the characteristic of God, for God is love. The central doctrine of the Feast of Divine Mercy is what the Lord Jesus told St Faustina: Where the sin is hardest, My mercy will be greatest.
Yes, God offers us His abundant mercy through His only Son Jesus Christ, so that we can experience forgiveness and peace of heart. And that exactly is the theme of the gospel today – forgiveness and peace.
The disciples had sinned against Jesus in the gravest possible manner. Not only did they lose faith and lost courage when they were put to the test, but collectively, they had also betrayed Him, denied Him, deserted Him and even disbelieved His resurrection. But the risen Jesus came, not to condemn but to console them. He came to forgive them and to offer them PEACE. “Peace be with you” (John 20:19)
Even for Thomas who doubted and had been so obstinate, it was the forgiveness and peace of Jesus that enabled him to say “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28) Indeed, that reiterates the doctrine of the Divine Mercy – Where the sin is hardest, My mercy is the greatest. And that is what the Risen Christ offers us at every Mass, forgiveness and peace. Through the Eucharist, the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus, offered to God, we are forgiven and granted peace.
But the painted image of the Divine Mercy also has those words: “Jesus, I trust in You.” To trust in Jesus also means that we must forgive just as we have been forgiven. And Jesus offers us peace so that we in turn can be instruments of peace.
The gospel account of Thomas initial disbelieve and later believe teaches us two things. The first is that we too have a choice, a decision to make. It is a choice for or against faith. If we choose against faith, then we choose to be in conflict, division, and blindness. It is a choice to be in separation from the Church and from God, indeed from our true selves. But we cannot claim to be believers and not be of one heart with the Church. The first reading (Acts 4: 32-35) tells us that “The company of those who believed were of one heart and soul…” If we choose for faith, then we choose union, community, peace, clarity of mind and heart, and to love.
The second thing we learn from the account of Thomas is this: God extends his mercy to us over and over again, to heal us and to forgive us and to bring us back to faith. This is Divine Mercy Sunday after all, and today’s Gospel brings this mercy into evidence.
Beloved in Christ, just as Thomas had a choice, so do we. He had to decide to believe or not to believe. He first chose unbelief which resulted in conflict and disunity and a desperate need for God’s mercy and healing. Thomas then chose to believe and with that he was extended mercy, healing and sight.
Beloved, let us choose faith, let us choose to believe! Our eyes will be opened. Faith in not blind; Faith sees clearly. With that clarity of vision we can bask in the warmth of God’s love. Remember, God’s mercy is offered to us if and when we fall, when we lose faith, when we sin. God’s mercy is freely offered to us all.
On this Divine Mercy Sunday, we beg God’s mercy as we go forward to live our lives in faith in the resurrection, relying on his love.
*Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya*