Year B: Homily for the Divine Mercy Sunday
Theme: GIVING GOD’S MERCY A HUMAN FACE
By: Rev Fr Gerald Muoka
Homily for Sunday April 11 2021
R1 – Acts 4: 32-35
R2 – 1Jn 5:1-6
RESP PS – Ps 118:2-4,15-18,22-24
GOSPEL – Jn 20:19-31
A story was told about a man who had an accident and was rushed to one Mercy Hospital (owned by a female religious community), in an unconscious state. After series of surgeries that got him resuscitated, the Rev Sister waiting by his bed said to him, “You’re going to be just fine,” and asked him, “We want to know how you intend to pay for your stay here. Are you covered by insurance?” He whispered, “No, I’m not.” The sister asked, “Can you pay in cash?” He replied, “I’m afraid I can’t, Sister.” She continued, “Do you have any close relatives, then?” The patient replied, “Just my sister in Italy, but she’s a spinster (unmarried) nun.” The Rev Sister said, “Nuns are not spinsters, Mr. John. They are married to Jesus.” The man said with a smile, “Okay, then send the bill to Jesus, my brother-in-law.” Quote hilarious…
Beloved in Christ, today is Divine Mercy Sunday. The Church invites us to reflect on the unfathomable, incomparable and incomprehensible mercy of God that never ceaseth, and always renewed every morning (Lam 3:23). The mercy of God assures us that Jesus our own brother, has settled our bills at the Calvary Mercy Hospital, and He equally encourages us to send more bills of our sins to the Calvary Mercy Hospital at the Confessional for remission. That is why Pope St JohnPaul II, succinctly said of this solemnity: “The cross, even after the Resurrection of the Son of God, speaks, and never ceases to speak, of God the Father, Who is absolutely faithful to His eternal love for man. … Believing in this love means believing in mercy.” “The Lord of Divine Mercy.”
The Feast of Divine Mercy is a response to the task, the Lord Jesus assigned to St Faustina during her short life.
These three basic tasks include:
(1) To pray for souls, entrusting them to God’s incomprehensible Mercy
(2) To tell the world about God’s generous Mercy
(3) To start a new movement in the Church focusing on God’s Mercy.
The readings for today’s liturgy emphasize the magnitude and profundity of God’s Mercy, the necessity for trusting Faith, and our need for God’s forgiveness of our sins.
The first part of today’s Gospel, describes how Jesus entrusted to his apostles his mission of preaching the “Good News” of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation.
*A REMINISCENCE OF GOD’S MERCY TO HUMANITY*
The mercy of God is as old as sinful humanity. After creating man out of his merciful love, God warned man that the soul that sinneth shall die (Gen 2:17; Rom 6:23; Ez. 18:20). Contrary to these divine legislations, man never ceased to sin, rebel and transgress against God:
(i) Gen 3:6 = Man ate from the tree of life and death, yet God showed him mercy and gave him second chance (Gen 3:14-17).
(ii) Gen 6:3 = When man’s wickedness and evil grew beyond proportion, God Chose Noah’s lineage to preserve humanity. They experienced the mercy of God and were saved from the deluge (Gen 8)
(iii) When the chosen race; Israel, rebelled against God 21 times in the wilderness, He showed mercy and rather, established the Yomkipur for periodic cleaning with the azazel “scapegoat” and the slaughtered goat whose blood is used for cleansing of the people (Lev 16)
(iv) Jesus, God’s only begotten son, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (Jn 1:29), finally poured forth the blood of the new and everlasting covenant as the highest point of God’s love and mercy, hanging upon the cross and at the perpetual hour of mercy, 3 PM and decreed: *”IT IS FINISHED”* and died. That is why the hour of Divine Mercy is 3 PM.
In the post resurrection apparition in today’s Gospel reading, Jesus substituted and provides his followers, a ritual that suffices and supersedes for the old mode of cleansing, “Yomkipur” (Lev 16), via, THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE, when he decreed, “If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained (Jn 20:23).
(i) *PROFESS JESUS AS YOUR LORD GOD AND PERSONAL SAVIOUR TODAY*
Thomas, the “doubting” apostle, makes the great profession of faith, “My Lord and my God” (Jn 20:28). According to Raymond Brown, Thomas’ profession of Faith is the ultimate Christological proclamation of the fourth gospel.
Thomas’ professssion of faith today, brings us to the realization that Jesus was equal to and One with the Eternal Creator of the universe and of all humankind. So, we ought to learn from Thomas, how to profess and confess our faith in Jesus as our personal Lord, Saviour and All in All; since the scripture assures that those who accept Jesus as Lord and God shall be saved (Rom 10:9).
(ii) *THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE IS NOT OF HUMAN ORIGIN*
We equally learn today, that no Sacraments of the church is of human origin. Each of them was instituted by Jesus and perpetuated by His Divine Command. Today we see one of the biblical foundations of the Sacrament of Penance, as instituted by Jesus himself, “If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained (Jn 20:23).
We then, need to accept God’s invitation to participate and celebrate His merciful love in our Christian lives through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
(iii) *GIVE GOD’S MERCY A HUMAN FACE*
The first and second readings of today’s liturgy stress and exemplify the corporal acts of mercy practiced by the early Christian community. They Practiced the act of sharing love, compassion and the mercy of God as Jesus taught: “Loving others as Jesus loves us also demands that we treat others with God’s mercy and compassion”
We too, must learn from the first century Christians on how to give God’s mercy a human face, by loving one another, forgiving those who trespass against us; eschewing hatred, rancor, and rift; treating humanity in our employees, neighbours, drivers, cooks, maids, house helps, students, younger colleagues the same way we could treat yourself.
Finally, One day in 1935, a one time Mayor of New York City, Fiorello H. La Guardia, showed up at the local Court in the poorest ward of the city. He decided to preside over the cases at hand and took over the bench. One case involved an elderly woman who was caught stealing bread to feed her grandchildren. La Guardia said, “I’ve got to punish you. Ten dollars or ten days in jail.” As he spoke, he brought out his hat, turning it into an offering box, threw $10 into it. He then fined everyone in the courtroom including himself, 50 cents for living in a city “where an old woman had to steal bread so that her grandchildren should not starve.” The hat was passed around, and the woman left the courtroom with her fine paid and an additional $47.50 for her pocket money.
Beloved, let us allow the mercy of God reign above justice, right, and entitlement by wearing human face, like Mayor La Guardia in the Epilogue story.
MAY THE MERCY OF GOD NEVER DEPART FROM US AS WE STRIVE BEING MERCIFUL AS OUR HEAVENLY FATHER.
_FR GERALD MUOKA_