Catholic homily for the 2nd Sunday of Easter Year B (Divine Mercy Sunday)
Theme: God’s Love and Mercy
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday April 11 2021
The Easter Event form part of the most profound expression of God’s Love and Mercy. We were disobedient and insubordinate. We damaged our relationship with God through our wrong choices. We bruised and disfigured the priceless beauty we possess within us which was given to us freely by God. We moved far away from God. Even in this gross expression of waywardness, God came in search for us and offered the needed sacrifice that we may regain our freedom. By the Resurrection of Christ we were reborn and re-instated to the dignity of sons and daughters of God! On the face of the glorious and risen Lord, we behold the radiance of God’s love and mercy that breaks all barriers! The Merciful Countenance of God changed our whole story for good. Lord, be merciful to us; Amen.
The Second Sunday of Easter is also known as the Divine Mercy Sunday. This title dates back to the year 2000 and to the saintly Pope John Paul II who established the celebration of the Divine Mercy Sunday at the occasion of the Canonization of Saint Faustina Kowalska on the 30th of April 2000. To speak of Divine Mercy is partly to speak of God’s foundational identity in His relationship with the men and women of every age and generation. In this light, we can acclaim with Pope Francis that “the Name of God is Mercy.” _Misericordia_ (i.e. Mercy) summarises humanity’s journey with God in the History of Salvation. Humanly speaking, mercy is the natural consequence of love. Hence, it is also right to say that the Divine Mercy is the natural consequence of God’s Love which is by nature Divine – “God is love!” (1 John 4:8). This Mercy of God, which had always guided the course of History, was made most visible and palpable in the life and mission of Christ, especially in the Paschal Mysteries of His Suffering, Death and Resurrection; “Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy.” God continues to make this Mercy perennially available and accessible to us by the merits of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. The experience of the Divine Mercy transforms! This was the story of the early followers of Christ as we heard in the First Reading of today (Acts 4:32-35); “the whole group of believers was united heart and soul… none of their members was ever in want.” An experience of the Divine Mercy re-defines us to begin to live in the terms of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, namely: to instruct the ignorant, to counsel the doubtful, to admonish the sinners, to bear patiently those who wrong us, to forgive offenses, to comfort the afflicted and to pray for the living and the dead – to feed the hungry, to give water to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, to visit the sick, to visit the imprisoned or ransom the captive and to bury the dead. These were the particular virtues and style of life that transformed the apostolic Christian community of the First Reading into a sphere of integral human edification and a family of brothers and sisters in Christ. The Risen Lord remained their one source of strength, who never fails to bequeath His peace upon us.
Central to the message which God revealed to Saint Faustina is the link between mercy and peace; between Divine Mercy and World Peace; “humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to Divine Mercy.” In the Gospel Reading of today (John 20:19-31), we heard of that special encounter between the Resurrected Lord and His disciples in which He gave them a most precious gift “Peace be with you.” And further still He said to them, giving them the power to substantially make the Mercy of God present wherever they are; “receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.” Where there is peace, there is also mercy! Mercy breeds peace! _Misericordia et Pax_ convertuntur (Mercy and peace go together). The world is in need of peace! We all are individually and collectively in need of peace! Likewise, the world is in need of Divine Mercy! And individually and collectively we are in need of Divine Mercy! God is ever ready to show us mercy. He is never tired of letting His merciful countenance fall upon on us. We must also be ready and open to receive and make flourish in us this precious gift of God. This is one of the concrete signs that we are the people of the Resurrection. The Mercy of God brings us peace! For this peace to reach the ends of the earth, we must also learn to be merciful; to be agents of mercy in works and deeds! The many wars in the world; the many acrimonies, disunity, inequality and tensions in our relationships could be traced back to the unreadiness in our hearts to be merciful to our brothers and sisters. The more we cease being merciful towards others, the more we close the door against ourselves to a better and more profound and fruitful experience of God’s mercy; and the farther we move from peace. The more we open ourselves to the Divine Mercy, the more victorious we are and the more we portray that we truly believe in Christ. In the words of the Second Reading (I John 5:1-6) “whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ… has already overcome the world.” The Mercy of God defines us!
God of mercy and compassion, look with pity upon us and upon the whole world. May the power of Your mercy transform us and may our experience of Your Mercy make us merciful towards others and the agents of peace in the world; Amen. Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE