Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. In my homily I focused on the first thing that Jesus did with the Apostles after the Resurrection was to institute the Sacrament of Peace and Reconciliation: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Those whose sins you forgive they are forgiven; those whose sins you retain, they are retained.” This power to forgive sins has been passed on down through the centuries through the laying on of hands and the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
On a pastoral dimension, I expanded on the 3 elements that make up a good confession: Sorrow for sin, a firm purpose of amendment and making restitution. Making up for our wrongs apply especially to lies that injured others and taking what does not belong to us whether it be our neighbour (I cited the example of stealing a neighbour’s sheep), employer (taking sick days that we were not entitled to) and the government (tax or social welfare fraud).
I also developed the point of Jesus appearing behind the locked doors of the Upper Room where the Apostles were hiding out for fear of the Jews. We too can lock ourselves up in various ‘rooms’ through addiction, financial difficulties, illness, relationship problems or simply the accumulation of personal sin. Jesus the Good Shepherd who always seeks out his lost sheep will manifest himself behind our ‘locked door’ with his peace and help. He doesn’t do it directly like in today’s gospel but he usually sends a messenger. We need to ask for the grace to recognise such assistance and respond to what is offered.
We also had a Divine Mercy service in the parish. Here were some quotes from St Faustina’s Diary that I gathered for the occasion.
- “Jesus loves hidden souls. A hidden flower is the most fragrant. I must strive to make the interior of my soul a resting place for the Heart of Jesus.”
- “The Holy Spirit does not speak to a soul that is distracted and garrulous. He speaks by His quiet inspirations to a soul that is recollected, to a soul that knows how to keep silence.”
- “Pure love is capable of great deeds, and it is not broken by difficulty or adversity. As it remains strong in the midst of great difficulties, so too it perseveres in the toilsome and drab life of each day.
- “Act in such a way that all those who come in contact with you will go away joyful. Sow happiness about you because you have received much from God; give, then, generously to others. They should take leave of you with their hearts filled with joy, even if they have no more than touched the hem of your garment.”
- “Now, rest your head on My bosom, on My heart, and draw from it strength and power for these sufferings because you will find neither relief nor help nor comfort anywhere else.”
- “O my Lord, inflame my heart with love for You, that my spirit may not grow weary amidst the storms, the sufferings and the trials. You see how weak I am. Love can do all.”
- “Your holy will is the life of my soul.”
- “And fear nothing, dear soul, whoever you are; the greater the sinner, the greater his right to Your mercy, O Lord.”
- “Have great confidence; God is always our Father, even when He sends us trials.”