MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART FOR DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY AT STMARY’S CHURCH, WEST MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY, 15 April 2012 AT 2.30 PM
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today in the light of the risen Lord we come to celebrate the Feast of Mercy. Jesus has wished that we might have the peace given to his Apostles; the forgiveness of sins and the ability to trust him so strongly that we will become his ambassadors.
Purified by the Sacrament of Reconciliation, hearing the mercy of God, venerating the image of Jesus, merciful Saviour, and trusting in him, we seal the covenant of mercy by our receiving of the Lord in Holy Communion.
United with each other and in loving trust in our Saviour, let us call to mind our sins, that his mercy may transform us abundantly.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today above all is a day of mercy, as our sins are washed away and we are redeemed in his blood. Together in such numbers we thank God for Jesus’ revelation of his mercy to Sister Faustina Kowalska. The Gospel we have just read shows Jesus as the king of mercy, dispensing mercy, giving us his peace, breathing on the disciples the Holy Spirit of mercy and giving them power to forgive sins. When Thomas came, he too said, “My Lord and my God”, and entrusted himself to the Lord.
We are given today a wonderful opportunity to know that whatever may be our sins, God’s mercy is offered to forgive them. Today is a day of total forgiveness of sins for those who approach the Sacrament and Reconciliation about this time and approach the Eucharist today.
Pope John Paul II wanted this to be an annual celebration like the day of atonement, which is mentioned in the Book of Leviticus, chapter 16, and the Book of Sirrach, chapter 50. All sins and punishments are washed away in Jesus’ infinite mercy. Indeed, when Jesus says, “Peace be with you”, he underlines for his apostles the fact that Jesus’ peace is life giving.
In addition to the fact that we are born by God in baptism and share our lives together in Christ, peace and forgiveness are available to us this Easter. The risen Christ breathes peace deep into our darkness and fears. All we need to do is to surrender to have it. Forgiveness comes to those who repent and it remains a life-giving gift to those who will be forgiving of others.
Today on Mercy Sunday we will bless the image of the merciful Saviour with the inscription, “Jesus, I trust in you”. It is this attitude of trust in Jesus’ coming forward with his right hand raised in blessing and his left hand touching his garment in the area of the heart, where two great rays of light shine forth, one red and one pale. He is a priest in blessing, coming with salvation for those who wait for him, with mercy for us all. We too are invited to come to Jesus with trust, to tell him that we love him and give our lives to him and to cry out, “Jesus, I trust in you”.
We all need to remember that today is the day of mercy, even if our sins are as red as blood, they will be as white as wool if we turn to his infinite mercy and trust him. His heart is waiting for us full of love and mercy ready to forgive and embrace us as we pray, “Jesus, mercy! I trust in you.”
Like Saint Thomas, who had doubted Our Lord, we too can turn back, know his peace and forgiveness, being filled with belief and trust in Jesus, the Son of God, so that we will have life through his name.
Dear friends, let us thank Jesus for his merciful love and understanding, for the peace he gives and the challenge that he provides in sending us to witness to that peace and trust amid our family and friends by faithfulness to prayer, responding in love to Jesus, and trusting in him above all. Jesus, I trust in you.