Grace to you!
On this Divine Mercy Sunday, I reflect on the mercy of God and how we are blessed to be its unmerited beneficiaries.
Whenever I come out of the confessional, having confessed my sins to the Lord, my heart is filled with joy at the mercy of God I’ve received. I realize I don’t necessarily deserve what I receive at God’s throne of mercy. The healing, the joy and the blessing of the divine life isn’t necessarily because of the input of my own hands. It’s God who gifts me with His life.
Right from the start of my faith life, I see God making the first move all the time. As believers, we are people granted the grace of faith. We are called in love to communion with our Creator. It isn’t because we merit it or because we are perfect. Basic Christian theology teaches us that the choice is first made by God our creator. “You did not choose me. I chose you” says the Lord (Jn 15: 16).
Another way to express this incredible grace is to say that despite our weaknesses, God brought us to Himself. God looked at us with mercy and kindness. God’s love expressed in tender compassion gave us access of belonginess unto His life.
In mercy, we are begotten. In compassionate love, we are embraced. The Holy Father, Pope Francis, was spot on in describing God’s compassionate love for us--The Name of God is Mercy (2016). Because of God’s mercy, you and I have a shot for renewed life.
We read from one of the oldest Old Testament texts, Deuteronomy, how God’s covenant with His people has an essential attribute of mercy (Dt 9:4-5). When God looks at us in our messiness, I doubt if it is with the eye of justice He does so. I believe it is with the eye of mercy. For no one can stand the justice of God.
When Pope Saint John Paul II wrote about the amazing reconciliation between God and us in his Dives in Misericordia, he was pointing us to the truth that amidst sin, the mercy of God already invites us to restoration. God is abundantly rich in mercy. Permit me to quote an excerpt from the beautiful words of the Pope to us: “Conversion to God always consists in discovering his mercy, that is, in discovering that love which is patient and kind (cf. 1 Cor 13:4) as only the Creator and Father can be; …Conversion to God is always the fruit of the ‘rediscovery’ of this Father, who is rich in mercy” (John Paul II, Dives in misericordia, 13).
I read the story of the covenant between God and Noah (Gn 9:8-15). I cannot but see that beyond the destruction of the flood, was the mercy of God who restores and offers a sign of the rainbow as a symbolic reminder to generations that He forgives, shows mercy and restores.
It isn’t surprising to me at all to notice that the first thing, the first sacrament, ever spoken of by the Risen Lord to his disciples after the resurrection was the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He tells them to go about being disciples of his reconciliation and mercy.
Scripture tells us the Lord instituted this on the evening of the first day of the week. The Lord Jesus spoke to the timid disciples: “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (Jn 20:19-23).
This is important to the Lord. He wants his people to be healed and forgiven. He wants his people to receive the mercy he has established on the cross and the graces he pours from the resurrection. He gifts the Church through this sacrament with the graces to be missionaries of this mercy.
We receive this when we go to confession. There we hear those words that bring us in touch with our Lord and restores us to spiritual health. Your sins are forgiven. “I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”.
Thank you, Lord, for the grace of your mercy and healing. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Divine Mercy Sunday: Acts 5:12-16; Rev 1:9-11A; 12-13; 17-19; Jn 20:19-31]
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.