MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT KEVIN’S CHURCH, HAMPTON PARK, FOR THE FEAST OF DIVINE MERCY, ON SUNDAY 19 APRIL 2009 AT 3.15 PM.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On this day when Thomas in the Gospel departs from doubting and comes to belief, we are invited to celebrate the Feast of Mercy brought about by the resurrection of Christ.
It is a refuge for all souls and especially for sinners. The depths of God’s tender mercy come to us pouring a whole ocean of grace upon those souls who approach the fountain of mercy.
Confession and Holy Communion will obtain forgiveness of sins and punishment, and the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened on this special day, as we call to mind our sins and remember the forgiving mercy of God.
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 group of believers was united heart and soul … the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord with great power.” (Acts 4:32-33) “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ has been begotten by God.” (1 John 5:1) 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 Apostles 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 Sund