Homily for Divine Mercy Sunday Mass
MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART FOR THE DIVINE MERCY CELEBRATION AT SAINT KEVIN’S CHURCH, HAMPTON PARK, ON SUNDAY, 7TH APRIL 2013 AT 3.15 P.M.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today is a wonderful experience of the full implications of the resurrection of Christ. Jesus’ resurrection offers us peace, sending us out to witness to him and giving the grace of the Holy Spirit together with the power of the forgiveness of sins.
In this feast of Divine Mercy we remember that God comes to bring us a new power for life and a new hope despite our human weakness. Today we remember that God is a person of mercy who washes away our sins in water, giving us new birth in the Spirit and redeeming us with the blood of Christ.
Our Lord has asked Sister Faustina Kowalska to pray and work to have the feast of Divine Mercy established on the Sunday after Easter. Pope John Paul II decreed that this would be a day of total forgiveness of sins and of punishment due to sins for those who approach the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is to be an annual celebration like the Day of Atonement. All sins and punishment would be washed away in God’s infinite mercy.
The Readings tell of this today: “The whole community remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.” (Acts 2:42) “We have a sure hope and the promise of an inheritance that can never be spoilt or soiled or never fade away.” (Peter 1:4) In the Gospel, Jesus says: “Peace be with you.” (John 20:20) He likewise promises the forgiveness of sins and to Thomas he offers the relief of doubt with belief. We are to become a new creation with the power of Easter living in our minds and hearts.
On Mercy Sunday Our Lord asked that the image of the merciful Saviour be blessed and venerated and that Sister Faustina have an image painted with the words: “Jesus, I trust in you”, so as to draw mercy from the infinite ocean of God’s mercy.
Jesus is coming towards us with his right hand raised in blessing, his left hand touching his garment near the heart, where two great rays of light shine forth, one red, the other pale. He is dressed in the white robes of a priest coming with his hands raised in blessing with salvation for those who are waiting, coming with gifts of mercy, the life-giving water, blood and spirit.
So today we remember to turn to the Lord saying: “Jesus, I trust in you.” Even if our sins be as red as blood, they will be made white as wool if we turn to his infinite mercy and trust in him. “Jesus mercy, I trust in you.” Today is the day of mercy, available to us and to the whole world, to all who call upon his name. With Saint Thomas the Apostle we reach out and touch the wounds of Jesus and place our hands in his pierced side and draw on his infinite mercy and cry out: “My Lord and my God. Jesus, I trust in you.”
This is so we will come to know and to love the truth that Jesus gives us, to be touched by the redemption and forgiveness won on his cross and in his resurrection and to have this made personal by our sharing in the Sacrament at Reconciliation.
Saint Augustine calls these days, days of mercy and pardon, in his sermon for this Sunday. He warns the catechumens that as they lay aside their white robes they have worn all the week that their interior purity is not lessened. So we look back at the whole mystery of Easter. Jesus died and rose again. He appeared to the women and told them that he would save them. It is this salvation, hope and resurrection that is offered to us if we are truly penitent for our sins. It is a day when we touch the fullness of Easter’s power to transform us and make our lives and hearts new.
As we remember our weakness we are not discouraged because God has promised a mercy beyond what we could possibly imagine. With so much love and in such great numbers we come to the Lord and we know that he will touch our hearts and transform our parish and our world if we open our hearts to him.
Jesus, I trust in you.
Jesus, fount of mercy, I love you.
Jesus, my Lord and my God, I place my trust in you.
+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.