- Fr. Emil Valeza
Mercy and Faith: Our Road to Forgiveness
Gospel Reflection God’s Divine Mercy Today, in the second Sunday of Easter, we celebrate a very special occasion. As officially announced by then Pope John Paul II, now, St. John Paul II during the canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska in the year 2000, the Second Sunday of Easter is especially devoted for the celebration of the Divine Mercy.
On this special day we remember and thank God for allowing us to experience his infinite mercy through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His Only Begotten Son, our Lord and Savior. In her diary, St. Faustina Kowalska, the Apostle of Divine Mercy, writes these words of Jesus for us, “Proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God. All the works of My hands are crowned with mercy.” Indeed, this is the attitude of God towards us: His Divine Mercy is what makes Him persistent in finding each of us, his lost sheep. Through His Divine Mercy he will do whatever it takes to find us. We just need to cast off our doubts and believe in Him so that He may carry us back to His flock.
Yes. Our personal response, a positive response to God’s efforts in saving us is decisive. And it starts in believing in Him. This is demonstrated in our gospel today.
In the gospel, St. John tells us how fearful the disciples were that they even locked themselves up inside a room. Perhaps they were afraid that they might also suffer the fate of their Master: persecution and death. Thus horror has overcome them to the point that they lost their hope and forgot the words of their Lord, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day”.
However, in spite of their incredulity, Jesus has once again enkindled their dying faith by appearing before them, showing his wounds particularly to Thomas who was skeptical to the reports of his fellow disciples that Jesus indeed has truly risen and fully alive. In spite of their weakened faith caused by their fears and doubts, Jesus remained patient with them. He did not look ON their frailties but looked AT them with loving mercy, trusting that they will be able to understand His words and eventually believe in Him, which fortunately they did! And that is what Divine Mercy is all about. God never gives up on us. He patiently waits for us hoping that we may also profess the same faith in Him in words and deeds, “My Lord and my God”.
In our celebration today of the Divine Mercy, we remember and thank the Lord for the great mercy that He continuously gives us. Despite of our frailty, ungratefulness and sinfulness, Jesus did not, and does not give up on us. He remains merciful and ever determined in entering into our “locked hearts” to give us peace. Let us allow Christ to enter into our hearts, empty them from our sinfulness and pride. And with all humility let us participate in his grace so that He may completely save us. Remember the words of St. Augustine, “God created us without us: but he did not will to save us without us.” (Sermo 169,11,13:PL 38,923). As our Catechism explains it, “To receive His mercy, we must admit our faults. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (CCC# 1847)
The resurrection of Christ from the dead is no wonder the greatest manifestation of God’s Divine Mercy on us. We pray that, in great faith and in response to His call for mercy, may we also learn to forgive and be merciful towards our fellow sinners.