Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary on the Lake,
Blessed Easter! We continue to live the victory Christ has won for us in these fifty days. This first Sunday after Easter is designated Divine Mercy Sunday, a day when we focus on the Mercy of God. Why is it hard for us to let God save us? To let His victory have its day in us? Mercy in God is a force under pressure, waiting for us to allow Him room. This Sunday then we need to choose Mercy to let God work in us. There are three key areas where we will need to choose Mercy- the Mercy God holds out to us, Mercy for another, and Mercy for ourselves.
Choose Mercy from God: Too often we are afraid to run to God in the midst of our failures and struggles. That is why sins/struggles get buried and born in us for years. This is the power of the confessional where surrender all that we carry to God and experience him walking into our lives. This sacrament is one of my favorite parts of being a priest. There Jesus works in such a powerful way. When the evil one whispers despair and condemnation we need to run to the times where God has spoken to us of his mercy and choose it.
Hebrews 4:6– Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Lamentations 3:22-23- The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Choose Mercy for Others: This is hard. What helps is when we can know the experience of God’s own mercy for us and ask the Lord to help us reflect the same mercy we have received on others. A prayer of mercy, a prayer of forgiveness is a choice I can make even if my emotions haven’t caught up yet. A simple prayer formula I like for forgiveness is this one: “Jesus I forgive (fill in the blank) for (fill in the blank). This is a prayer that helps us with Christ choose forgiveness and mercy. It invites Him to enter into areas of hurt, pain, and anger and begin draining them away. This prayer brings us freedom and helps us begin to see even those who have wronged us with Mercy.
Luke 6:37-38- “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”
Choose Mercy for yourself: At times the person hardest on us is ourselves. God and others are more merciful toward us than we are to ourselves. Divine Mercy Sunday can be a great Sunday for sorting through the expectations we live. Some are good, prudent, and should be lived by. Others are not and come from our own woundedness or need to be in control. There is great freedom in knowing God is God and we are not. He doesn’t expect us to do His job! God understands that we are not perfect, that we need to grow and will continue doing so.
Matthew 22:36-39– “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Psalm 46:11- Be still and know that I am God!