2nd Sunday of Easter
Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. Let me share a remarkable story about Divine Mercy…
There was a successful real estate salesman with a yacht, Ferrari and a house near the ocean. But his inner emptiness led him to a cocaine addiction. On account of it he lost his job, home, and all his properties – and wound up a destitute wandering the streets of Los Angeles.
Due to the prayers of his mother, he began to change. Finally, he made the step of approaching a priest for confession. After confessing his sins, he told the priest, “I think I am being called to the priesthood.”
The priest was obviously taken aback. But something else caught his attention: he looked at his watch and said, “It is exactly three o’clock. The hour of the Divine Mercy.” The priest asked the man to pray with him.
To make the long story short, right after that encounter, the man entered the seminary to be a priest… and he is now Fr. John Corapi. And Fr. Corapi has become one of the foremost apostles of the Divine Mercy.
“The Lord of Divine Mercy” is a drawing of Jesus based on the vision given to St. Faustina. It shows Jesus raising his right hand in a gesture of blessing, with his left hand on his heart from which gush forth two rays, one red and one white. The picture contains the message, “Jesus, I trust in You!” The rays streaming out have symbolic meaning. The red symbolizes the Blood of Jesus, which is the life of souls. The white symbolizes the baptismal water which purifies souls. The whole image is symbolic of the mercy, forgiveness, and love of God.
What does ‘mercy’ mean? Mercy is the English word for the Latin word ‘misericordia’. Miser means misery or suffering; and cor/cordis means heart. So ‘misericordia’ literally means “the suffering of the heart.” Somebody said, “Misericordia means ‘having a pain in your heart for the pains of people who suffer… and taking pains to do something about their pain.” (Fr. George Kosicki)
It is said that God’s grace gives us what we do not deserve; while God’s mercy does not give us what we do deserve. What do we deserve for our unfaithfulness, wickedness, and sinfulness? Of course, we deserve punishment and condemnation. But God’s loving mercy, God’s merciful love, spares us from punishment and condemnation.
We have received and we have been embraced by God’s mercy. Like the Apostles, we have abandoned and betrayed the Lord in many ways. Like Thomas, we have doubted the risen Lord’s presence in our life. Yet, Jesus continues to offer his friendship to us… he continues to forgive us… he continues to trust us. That should be a great consolation for us: knowing that Jesus’ love for us is and will always be greater than all our sins.
When we sin, when we are burdened by our sinfulness, the Lord offers us his forgiving mercy. When we feel weak and helpless to be what God wants us to be and to do, the Lord offers us his strengthening mercy. When we are discouraged, when we experience failures, disappointments, and frustrations, the Lord offers us his hope-giving mercy. When we are troubled, when we are overcome by worries, fears, anxieties, insecurities, particularly about our physical and material welfare, the Lord offers us his provision-making mercy. When we are tempted to be proud, self-righteous, and arrogant, to be greedy, covetous, and lustful, to be deceitful, unfaithful, and adulterous, the Lord offers us his heart-exposing mercy. When we are afraid, when we are intimidated by the-powers-that-be which lack decency and integrity, which profit from falsehood, dishonesty, and unfairness, which empower trolling, bashing, and bullying, which promote division, antagonism, and hostility which employ fear tactics, repression, and violence, the Lord offers us his courage-giving mercy.
At the canonization of St. Faustina, Pope John Paul II said: “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 humans.” “Believing in this love means believing in mercy.” We receive mercy, let us live with mercy.