As many of you already know, today is The Feast of Divine Mercy, or better known as “Divine Mercy Sunday” which was instituted by Saint John Paul II on April 30, of the year 2000.
However, the origin of this day began in 1931, when a young nun, Saint Faustina, saw a vision of Jesus with Rays of Mercy streaming from the area of His heart.
Christ told her to have an image painted to represent this vision and to sign it, “Jesus, I trust in You.”
In a series of revelations, Christ taught her that His mercy is unlimited and available even to the greatest sinners, and he revealed special ways for people to respond to His mercy.
Yet, the real question for all of us here today is:
“Do we really understand Christ's Mercy?”
When we look at the Gospel reading Jesus appears to his apostles and says to them, “Peace be with you.”
They were not at peace.
They knew Jesus Christ, they believed in Him, but they were not at peace.
And in the second reading we hear Our Lord say, “Do not be afraid.”
Why would we be afraid?
The only reason we would be afraid and not be at peace is when we are not trusting Him.
So, here are some questions that maybe we could ask ourselves and ponder:
Is it that we don't fully believe?
Is it that in our heads we know; but in our hearts we often don't accept?
Could it be that we don't want to let him in very close because we know that it will probably do something to us; something that will require a change in our lives?
Is that why, we, at certain times don't let him come any closer?
Are we sometimes afraid to be vulnerable with God?
Listening to our Lord's words from today’s scripture, He tells us:
“Do Not be Afraid, Be at Peace.”
We are also shown how the Holy Spirit breathed upon the disciples and how they are given the authority to forgive sins, our sins.
And when we really know that our sins are forgiven, that is when we can be at peace.
That is when we have nothing to fear if we truly believe in the promises of Our Lord.
But do people actually believe in the promises of Christ?
Do they actually believe in the Mercy of God?
Maybe this issue has much deeper roots?
Maybe they don't even believe in their own dignity.
Maybe they don't believe in the forgiveness of sin.
Maybe they don't believe that God really loves them because they don't believe that they can be loved.
But what does our Lord do?
He comes to us and He points to his heart.
The rays of love flow from his heart depicting, in two different colors, the waters of baptism and the blood of Jesus Christ.
These symbols represent The Eucharist and Baptism; the covenant, and the celebration of the covenant, that each one of us has entered into.
And related to this, there is also a reality that is more profound than anything in the world.
It is the reality of the true and real presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, and the actual reality of having our souls cleansed of sin through Confession.
When we kneel before the priest in confession and hear those beautiful words of absolution, we should walk out with the knowledge, the unshakable knowledge, that our sins have been removed from our soul.
They are no longer there.
The Mercy of God is greater than anything we can do; that is what Our Lord wants us to know.
That there is nothing we can do that is bigger than Him.
He wants, more than anything, to forgive our sins.
Yet - many do not go to regular confession.
And some estimates state that only 20% even fulfill the Catholic obligation of yearly confession.
Why is it that so many don’t take advantage of the healing Sacrament of Confession?
If we are one of these people, maybe this is a question we should ask ourselves and pray about?
Jesus said that it was because of his love and mercy for us that he gave us the Sacrament of Confession.
And Saint Faustina records Jesus saying in such a beautiful way:
Daughter, when you go to confession, to this fountain of my mercy, the blood and water which came forth from My heart always flows down upon your soul and ennobles it.
For every time you go to confession, immerse yourself entirely in my mercy, with great trust, so that I may pour out the bounty of my grace upon your soul.
When you approach the confessional, know this, that I myself am waiting for you there.
I am only hidden by the priest, but I myself act in your soul.
Here the misery of the soul meets God solely with the vessel of trust.
If their trust is great, there is no limit to my generosity.”
In conclusion of today’s message let us remember that in confession, our sins are forgiven for all who believe and are truly contrite, that is our Catholic belief.
And it is in the utilization of confession and believing in the promises of Christ is what ultimately brings us healing and Peace.
Jesus is reaching out to each one of us.
The question we should ask ourselves is:
Will we draw near?
Or will we keep backing away, only to remain at arm’s reach?
Why don’t we all choose to Accept Christ's Mercy into our lives, (Especially Today) of all days.
Let’s all vow to accept his forgiveness,
To Believe in Him,
To Believe in our own holiness, and to Believe and to know deep in our hearts and soul that God loves us, that He truly loves us… so very much!