Homily for 2nd Sunday in Easter, Cycle A – Divine Mercy Sunday

posted Apr 15, 2020, 7:22 AM by Michelle Massung   [ updated Apr 15, 2020, 1:08 PM ]

Homily for 2nd Sunday in Easter, Cycle A – Divine Mercy Sunday

 

            Today, Jesus offers his peace to us when he appears to the Disciples after his resurrection.  His appearances are a reminder to us all that Jesus is with us always in our lives.  The peace He offers is also meant for us. 

            On May 23, 2000, Pope John Paul II declared the Second Sunday in Easter Divine Mercy Sunday.  It is a celebration of God’s infinite mercy and love.  It originated when Jesus appeared to Sister Faustina in 1938 and he revealed to her his need for a devotion to his infinite mercy and love.  He appeared in the image that is shown in the image here.


  The red rays flowing out represent his blood and the blue rays represent the water of baptism.  Each forgives us our sins and allows us to experience the infinite love and mercy that Jesus extends to us.  Pope John Paul II wanted us all to be prepared for the second coming of Christ.

            But how does this feast correspond to the offer that Jesus makes to us today for peace? In our Catholic faith, we believe that if we are sorrowful for our sins and go to confession, all our sins are forgiven.  Regardless of how serious a sin we commit, God forgives us.  This is truly great news.  Yet, how many of us have had our sins forgiven by God and are still not able to forgive ourselves?  I had this problem after the death of my mother.  In 1995, I was living in Houston, TX, and doing very well financially and living the good life as some would say.  However, my mother, who was living in the Philadelphia area at the time, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  I would visit my family during Thanksgiving or maybe for a week in the summer to play in a golf tournament with my brother or father.  However, I never went out of my way to visit my dad and mom and to give him a break as my mother’s care-giver.  I figured I would do so when her condition got worse and he really needed the help.  Well, as she continued to get worse, I didn’t visit any more often.  In February, 1998, she suffered a massive stroke and never recovered.  I never got a chance to tell her one last time that I loved her.  I felt so guilty for not helping my father take care of her and for not spending time with her.  I carried this guilt around for a several years.  I had several conversations with priests and spiritual directors to discuss this guilt.  They assured me that I have been forgiven by God. I also asked my father for his forgiveness and graciously gave it to me.  Finally, I sat down and wrote my mother a letter and asked her for her forgiveness and she forgave me.  It was then that I realized that I was the only one that felt guilty about this situation.  I finally accepted the peace of Christ in my life by letting go of the guilt I felt.  This is the promise of peace he gives to us today.  If we let go of our guilt and forgive ourselves, his peace will fill our hearts and we will be free from the burden of our sins.  This is truly the gift of his mercy and love in our lives.

            Why is it so hard for us to forgive ourselves?  The first thing is, do we truly believe that God forgives us?  In our head we know that he has but do we really believe it in our hearts?  We tend to compare God to other humans in our lives and believe that no human could ever forgive us for our sins.  Yet God is infinitely more merciful and forgiving than any human.  We have to trust in his mercy and love.  The second is that our offense is so grievous that no one could possibly ever forgive us.  Lastly, we cannot let go of the hurt we have caused others.  I had trouble letting go of the hurt I caused my mother and my father when I did not visit them.  Like Thomas in the Gospel today, I doubted in the message of Jesus.  It is quite common to do so because we are skeptical by nature. 

            In the Gospel, Jesus empowers the Disciples to forgive the sins of others, in essence, the institution of the Sacrament of reconciliation.  Yet, there are still some people that doubt that when they confess their sins to a priest and receive pardon and absolution, that their sins have not really been forgiven.  Again, they doubt the message of Jesus like Thomas did.  The words of Jesus need to be listened to and believed.  If the priest forgives you your sins, they are forgiven forever. Today, what are you holding onto from your past?  What sins have you been forgiven of that you are still holding onto?  Today, Jesus tells us that his peace is with us if we are willing to let these sins go free and believe and trust in his mercy and love.  In doing so, we will have the peace he offers to us today.

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