Dear Friends in Christ:
The Sunday after Easter – technically the Second Sunday OF Easter, is referred to as Divine Mercy Sunday. In the Opening Prayer for Mass (the Collect), we pray:
God of Everlasting Mercy,
Who in the very recurrence of the paschal feast
Kindle the faith of the people you have made your own,
Increase, we pray, the grace you have bestowed,
That all may grasp and rightly understand
In what font they have been washed,
By whose Spirit they have been reborn,
By whose Blood they have been redeemed.
In what font they have been washed – In whose Spirit they have been reborn – by whose blood they have been redeemed. In other words, we are praying that every Christian remembers that they are Christian and act like it! The fullest expression of the Mercy of God is in Jesus. We see in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, the ultimate expression of Mercy. In the Paschal Mystery, each of us has been redeemed. We are no longer subject to the eternal claims of death and damnation. By Jesus’ death and resurrection, we have been saved. It is in the Mercy of God that we have been redeemed and restored. Yet, for too many of us, Easter was last Sunday. The ham is eaten, the lilies are drooping, and we have now moved on to different things – prom, end of the school year, baseball, income taxes or plans for summer vacation.
It is precisely because of this tendency to put God in a box, on a shelf, in the back of the closet, of our lives that we must remember to pray to the God of Everlasting Mercy. God’s Mercy is not for a day or a moment, and we should not be Christians of Convenience (or Cafeteria Catholics). To experience the fullness of the Mercy that God desires for us, we have to constantly remember the font in which we have been washed, by whose Spirit we have been reborn and by whose Blood we have been redeemed. Our baptism was not just a historical fact, but is a present reality. Similarly, we were not redeemed by Jesus 2000 years ago, we ARE redeemed right now. Today. God’s Mercy is such that we are able to live every day in his merciful love. The key is, if we want to.
When life is rough and we have problems, God’s Mercy is there for us. When things are wonderful and everything is going our way, God’s Mercy is there for us. When things are just there and so-so, God’s Mercy is there for us. In every moment of every season of our lives, God’s Mercy is always there for us. When we realize that we live in the Mercy of God, our troubles are fewer and less intense because we know the Mercy of God is with us. When we are experiencing success and happiness in this life, our joy is greater because we see the Mercy of God with us. When things just move along, we see with greater clarity the good that we possess because of the Mercy of God is with us.
May we never forget that Easter is not just a day and that God’s Mercy is everlasting! (Ps 100)
In Pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately