2nd Sunday Easter – April 16, 2023
On Easter Sunday, we celebrated all that God has done to set us free from sin, and how he’s made us beacons of God’s justice and peace, in order that our lives, our families, our churches, and our world might be overbrimming manifestations of the grace of salvation and the joy of being made members of God’s kingdom!
On this Second Sunday of Easter of Divine Mercy, we’ll explore how, each of us, has been given the grace, according to the measure of Christ’s gift, of MERCY, to better enable us to become God’s agents of the Good News to anyone and everyone whom the Lord sends our way.
Ultimately, it comes down to faith that we’re headed for the Kingdom of Heaven.
—like when a young Christian woman was collecting money for charity on the streets of Sudbury. She saw an elderly man approaching and asked him, “Will you give me a toonie for the Lord?”
The elderly man asked, “How old are you, young Lady?”
“I’m 22, sir” she replied.
“Well I’m 91 years old,” he answered, “and I’m certain that I’ll see the Lord way before you, so I’ll just hang on to my toonie and give it to him myself.”
Although the Christian woman certainly wasn’t expecting that response, I’m sure she was aware that the man –like her– would need to rely on God’s mercy when he approached the Lord one day, at the gates to the Kingdom of Heaven.
Mercy—like grace– is something that all of us need each day
- apportioned to us according to our attitudes & perspectives on life
- apportioned to us to the extent that we are bearers of mercy to one another
The Hebrew Scriptures had three words and understandings of mercy: Hesed, Rahamim, and Hen.
- a mutual, dependable, enduring love
- like those between spouses, close friends
- between God and human beings
- the kind of mercy given when one trespasses against the other and gives another chance at loving, to the perpetrator of the trespass.
- The kind of mercy that exists in a long-term relationship with someone where we want to work through our failures and sins, rather than give up on the relationship.
- Between parents and their children
- Between siblings
- The kind of mercy we feel from the gut (womb, or centre) of our body
- Remembers the time we shared something in common, when what separates us now didn’t exist.
- Remembers our origin, our birthright and thereby prompts us to have mercy
- No-strings attached forgiveness given to one who has no obligation to reciprocate our gift of mercy toward them.
- Depends solely on the generosity of the one offended
- Two persons may not be equal in the relationship.
- g. employer and employee
The New Testament builds upon these three understandings of mercy in the OT.
- Sees mercy as a part of the very Nature of God, who gives us flawed, frail, and sinful human beings another chance at being faithful, dedicated and humble enough to admit our failings and to overcome all obstacles to becoming all that God has created us to be.
- Intended to motivate us to exercise the same kind of mercy toward one another
- Jesus gives us an example of his mercy by appearing to doubting Thomas. Thomas wants empirical face-to-face proof that Jesus is indeed risen, and Jesus gives it to him.
Like Thomas, when we doubt the New Life Jesus offers us through his own suffering, death and resurrection from the dead, we’re also doubting….
- God’s power to save us.
- Gods’ love for a sinful humanity.
- Gods’ desire to free us from bondage
- God’s desire to give us the experience of joy in knowing that we are God’s beloved sons and daughters, justified by faith and made partakers of his mission by baptism.
But when we’ve experience the mercy of God toward us —-even once— we can’t help but be changed by it and want to draw closer to the Lord or to another because of it. We can’t help but want to emulate God’s grace toward us by being merciful toward those who have sinned against us in some way.
Indeed, it’s our experience of mercy that prompts us to reject a cancel culture mentality, where a misstep or misspoken word in effect, condemns that person to be unaccepted, unloved, irredeemable.
Such a cancel culture demonstrates a refusal to believe that mercy is a virtue at all.
Rather than calling the person to accountability and entering into dialogue about particular actions or comments, that may indeed reflect the value of social justice, cancel culture leaves no room for any ideas, thoughts or speech to be debated in a respectful way about a given topic or issue, without first ostracizing and isolating the one who is accused. (vox.com Why we can’t stop fighting about cancel culture, August 25, 2020, by Aja Romano)
According to Aaron Rose, a corporate diversity and inclusion consultant, “The difference between cancel culture and a more reconciliatory, transformational approach to a disagreement is “the difference between expecting amends and never letting a wound close, between expressing your rage and identifying with it forever.” (vox.com Why we can’t stop fighting about cancel culture, August 25, 2020, by Aja Romano)
On this Divine Mercy Sunday, then, perhaps we can take some time to pray the Chaplet to the Divine Mercy and allow those prayers to assist those, most hardened to the love of God, to feel deep within themselves, the immense love God has for them and to be merciful in return, to others.
For it is such mercy and inclusion, that motivated Jesus to leave the glories of heaven, to live among us on earth, to suffer, and to die for our sins and ultimately, to rise from the dead, so that “(we) might come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through believing, (we) may have life in his name.” (John 20: 21)
Next weekend, we’ll explore the gift of the Word and the Eucharist, in bringing us into lively dialogue with God and giving us the graces, we need to witness to Christ in our callings.
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