Tuesday, 7 April 2015


A few days ago we celebrated the death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Sin had made us strangers to God, hostile to Him. But through His death on the cross Jesus has made our peace with God.
With Jesus we have died to the power of sin and death; with Jesus we have risen to new life. We are no longer strangers, outsiders, but Members of the Household of God, His children. In Him we have become a New Creation!
We celebrate this loving mercy on the first Sunday after Easter - known as ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.’
The Gospel of today’s Mass is especially appropriate to this theme. It tells us that the risen Lord appeared to His apostles and that He entrusted to them the power to forgive sins in His name. Jesus wanted to make His saving mercy, achieved through His death on the cross, available to peoples throughout the world, and throughout time.
He has commissioned and empowered the priests of His Church to be ‘ministers of His reconciliation,’ - instruments of His gracious mercy.
God’s mercy lies at the very heart of the Good News of Salvation, achieved through the death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The risen Lord appeared to a Polish Religious Sister, Faustina , in the first half of the last century. Jesus instructed her that He wished this core belief of our Christian faith to be given greater emphasis. He urged her to promote devotion to the Divine Mercy. She lived between 1905-35.
Jesus commissioned her to encourage us to place our trust in God’s loving mercy, as our only hope of salvation. People are to be made aware that God is only too eager to forgive all those who place a child-like trust in His mercy.
This is most surely the essence of the Devotion to the Divine Mercy. Of course it tells us nothing new. But what it does do is popularise what should be at the very heart of our Christian lives. We need to be constantly reminded that God is full of mercy and compassion. He is eager to forgive the repentant sinner and doesn't want to punish anyone.
The Scriptures repeatedly urge us to place our trust in the loving power of His mercy, and not rely on what we think we deserve and can achieve by our own efforts.
But we must always remember that in the Gospels Jesus repeatedly insisted that if we want to receive His mercy we must be merciful to others; we must be willing to forgive those who harm us; we must forgive even our enemies.
We accept this condition whenever we pray, “forgive us our trespasses as –in so far as –we forgive those who trespass against us.”
So, the Devotion to the Divine Mercy goes to the very heart of our relationship with God and with each other. It gives us the only explanation of Christ’s life, death and resurrection, summed up by St. John’s Gospel,
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”
Our response is for us to trust in the power of His loving mercy, and to seek His forgiveness.
It must be insisted that our piety in celebrating the Devotion to the Divine Mercy demands of us that it be converted into action in our workaday lives.
This beautiful Devotion only achieves its purpose if it provokes us to forgive those who harm us and seek God's forgiveness and theirs' when we have offended them.
Isidore Clarke, OP

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