Pastor's Desk

2nd Sunday of Easter


The Church celebrates the mercy of God on this Second Sunday of Easter. It is called Divine Mercy Sunday, a day when we reflect on the goodness and mercy of God in our lives. Scripture  tells us that all of us have sinned and have fallen short of the grace of God (Romans 3.23). The best parable (story) that Jesus tells us about Divine Mercy is the parable of the Prodigal Son. We cannot fully understand this parable unless we have ever sinned and were forgiven by our parents, teachers or leaders. Think about the words of the Prodigal son when he returned to his father: “I no longer deserve to be called your son, treat me as one of your hired servants” (Luke 15:18-19).

No one can approach the throne of God’s mercy unless he/she accepts that they are a sinner. In his encyclical entitled Dives in Misericordia (The Mercy of God), Saint John Paul II mentions the fact that “Some theologians affirm that mercy is the greatest of the attributes and perfections of God. It is the way man and woman meet God, particularly and closely.” If not for the mercy of God, we are all unfit to stand before His Altar or even to mention his name. John Paul II concludes, “Conversion consists always in discovering God’s mercy, a “rediscovery” of the Father who is rich in mercy.”

You see, God does not turn away those who earnestly seek his mercy. After denying Jesus three times, Peter the Apostle cried profusely and remorsefully for not standing by Jesus at a critical time. His tears brought him God’s mercy. Judas, who betrayed Jesus, was so frustrated afterwards and he failed to discover the mercy of God and he ended up in an acute despair that led him to take his own life by hanging himself.

As we gather to offer our Divine Mercy Liturgy, this week’s Old Capital Bank mass shooting reminds us that the cross and its fear-generating pain is till very much a part of our lives. Our hearts are heavy, as are those of the victims and the families of those who lost their lives, as we learned about yet another mass shooting, this time right here in our own community. Even with our Easter hope so recently renewed, we have been quicky reminded that we still live in the shadow of the cross, the cross of senseless violence. Yet, this Divine Mercy Sunday we cling to the Easter Truth that Jesus’ resurrection changes everything, and yes, it gives us hope – because God’s Divine Mercy is offered to everyone!

People who come humbly to God obtain his mercy. The Publican who stood far off in prayer and said: “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18.13). Bartimaeus the blind man saw Jesus passing by and shouted: “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me” (Mark 10.46-47). St. Paul calls himself the commander in chief of all sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). When St. Augustine left his old way of reckless living and returned to God, he humbly and prayerfully said: “God, I entrust my past to your mercy, my present to your grace and my future to your providence.” The Lord certainly gives his people a special invitation and an assurance of forgiveness in the book of Isaiah, “If your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made white as snow (1:18)

            In the gospel reading Jesus gave his disciples the privilege of extending and sharing His Divine Mercy when he said: “Receive the Holy Spirit.  Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Today, let us celebrate God’s Divine Mercy!