“…His Mercy Endures Forever…”
The words are incomprehensible to modern man for he knows not sin or the everlasting mercy that heals it. It is only when one has received mercy that mercy can be understood and then brought to others, so the entry level step is seeking mercy, forgiveness. From receiving mercy, the acts of mercy can flow to one another in conformity with the will of God, as shown in the First Reading of this Feast of Divine Mercy on the Second Sunday of Easter. Does modern man understand this, that his state of sin needs mercy and he is expected to be merciful? Or is he a follower of Richard Niebuhr’s thought that a “God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross”? For such as these, the Year of Mercy in 2016 was offensive, they saw no need of forgiveness and mercy because they saw no sin in themselves. For many more, the thought still hasn’t crossed their minds that God loves them and wishes to launch a torrential flow of mercy onto them, if they but acknowledge their sinfulness.
This great feast, Divine Mercy Sunday, was instituted by St. John Paul to remind us of God’s great love for us. In fact, the Gospel tells us of the greatest avenue of mercy, the forgiveness of sins. In 2016, the Year of Mercy, there were many devotions and priests heard confessions, sometimes for 24 hours straight. It was a call to bring God to us all and for us to live His love.
But at the time, I wondered what mercy was. It didn’t just come to us, didn’t we have to do something, didn’t we need to ask for something, like asking for mercy in confession? Was that it? Ask and ye shall receive? No, there’s more. There’s always more. What good is a gift if you do nothing with it? The First Reading tells us how to live in mercy, by doing good to others.
There was a lady in our parish. She was a Eucharistic Minister, like so many others. But she didn’t brag about the other stuff she did. She was a foster mom for years, salvaging kids from broken families. She started a foodshelf at a regional medical center and provided literally tons of food for people who came there over the years, to a place that catered to a poor clientele. She was mercy to those people.
Some call it Christian charity. What is the difference? It is bringing the love of Jesus for us to the world. We have to be like that, doing what we can for others, even if it is just a smile or a cheery hello, or in the silence of our hearts, a solemn prayer.
This article, “…His Mercy Endures Forever…” is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
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