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4/28/19 Divine Mercy Sunday - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Second Sunday of Easter / Sunday of Divine Mercy
Lectionary: 45

 

  • Today we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday…
  • Perhaps this is a good day to explore what mercy really is…
  • Mercy is a manifestation of God’s love through… compassion and forgiveness
  • The Latin root of the word compassion literally means “to suffer with another…”
  • While forgiveness can be understood as “the free gift of a debt that no longer needs to be paid…”
  • The experience of mercy requires us to first be broken… to have suffered… and to have hungered for forgiveness
  • In essence; the ability to give and receive mercy requires that we be “fully human” in the fullest sense of that term
  • It’s a paradox of our faith that the very things that we see in our humanity as our greatest weaknesses and faults can also bring us the greatest graces
  • St. Maria Faustina experienced much suffering in her short 33 years of life, and constantly sought God’s forgiveness for her perceived flaws…  She was well aware of her need for God’s mercy
  • Her writings, (describing her encounters with the risen Lord), were eventually published as a Diary entitled: Divine Mercy in My Soul
  • In a few of the excerpts from her Diary Jesus says the following
    • I have opened My Heart as a living fountain of mercy.  Let all souls draw life from it.  Let them approach this sea of mercy with trust (1520)
    • On the cross, the fountain of My mercy was opened wide by the lance for all souls – no one have I excluded. (1182)
    • Proclaim to the whole world My unfathomable mercy (1142)… Proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of GodAll the works of My Hand are crowned with mercy. (301)
    • And finally: I AM Love and mercy itself (1074)…
  • What will it take for us to believe in God’s endless mercy… not just intellectually... But deep within our being…?
  • The language of God, the language of mercy, can only be deciphered by the heart...
  • And in order for this to happen in our busy lives, we need to set aside some time for quiet prayer each day... to be with God, to share our lives with Him, and to put our fingers into the nail marks, and to put our hands into His side...
  • Thomas relied upon his intellect when he refused to believe... But Jesus returned and touched his heart...
    • Thomas simply wasn’t prepared for that...
      • All his demands, all of his conditions dissolved in an instant in Jesus’ presence...
      • All He could utter at that moment was: “My Lord and My God...”
  • Like Thomas - Once we allow God to touch our hearts... Everything changes...
  • Both the celebrations of Easter and the Divine Mercy are celebrations of God’s Deep Love for us...
  • But do we see them that way, or do we insist on carrying the baggage of our sinfulness around as proof of our wretchedness, and as a reason to remain shackled in chains of our own making?
  • Without our acceptance of God’s promises, and our acceptance of ourselves with all of our faultsGod’s mercy cannot penetrate our lives
  • Brennan Manning wrote about a Milwaukee school teacher by the name of John Egan, in his book Abba’s Child...
  • Manning wrote: “Egan, a flawed man with salient weaknesses and character defects, learned that brokenness is proper to the human condition, that we must (first) forgive ourselves for being unlovable, inconsistent, incompetent, irritable, and potbellied; and he knew that his sins could not keep him from GodThey had all been redeemed by the Blood of Christ.  In repentance, he took his shadow self to the Cross and dared to live as a forgiven man.” (Pg 50).
  • Isn’t that what our Christian walk is all about – To take the promises of Christ at face value and dare to live each day as forgiven men and women?
  • Yet – How many of us lack the courage and faith to do this?
  • How many of us refuse to believe in God’s mercy?
  • How many of us prefer to condemn ourselves rather than to allow ourselves to be loved just as we are
  • God doesn’t want us to just “Endure” our lives on this earth – He wants us to dare to live our lives fully, as forgiven sons and daughters of the Father...
  • So how do we come to believe as Thomas believed… and how do we dare to live as forgiven men and women?
    • We must first regain our sense of wonder, our sense of God’s mystery...
    • We must let go of our feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness...
    • Most importantly - We must regain our sense of “Belovedness...”
  • In seeking out certainties in our faith, (as Thomas did), we miss the mystery of our faith… Who is God...
  • The only certainty that God offers us in this life is the promise of His unconditional love... Everything else is negotiable...
  • We must never assume that God sees us as we see ourselves... Because God sees through us, and deep within us, to depths that we cannot consciously penetrate...
  • Like Thomas... Jesus wants us to get out of our heads... and believe deeply in our hearts...
    • He wants us to believe in our redemption...
    • To believe in our inherent dignity as sons and daughters of the Father...
    • And perhaps most importantly, to believe in His unfathomable capacity for mercy...
  • Jesus continually returns to each of us, as He did to Thomas…  To call us out of the darkness of unbelief, into the light of His love...
  • Someone once observed that many people are afraid of the dark... But the real tragedy is those who are afraid of the light...

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