Homily – Divine Mercy Sunday MMX 4/11/10

Homily – Divine Mercy Sunday MMX 4/11/10

The Second Reading this weekend is taken from the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation.

John was just a young man when Jesus rose from the Dead, but in the second reading John is now a very old man exiled on the tiny Greek Island of Patmos, which was probably where the government sent criminals to die. All his other brother Apostles had been martyred, and the Virgin Mary whom he lived with for many years had years before been assumed into Heaven.

It was there on Patmos one Lord’s Day, which is Sunday, that John was caught up in Spirit and is given a vision of seven gold lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands was the Risen Lord Jesus.

Seeing Jesus amidst the Lampstands on the Lord’s Day, John fell down at Christ’s Pierced Feet, as one dead to the world, and alive only for Jesus.

This passage is the reason why Catholic Altars traditionally have six big gold candlesticks with an Altar Crucifix in the middle of them, like our altar does, to represent these seven lampstands that John saw in His vision.

Just like John’s vision, on the Lord’s Day, on Sunday, when we come to Church, the Risen Jesus, Body Blood, Soul and Divinity, appears in the midst of the Seven Lampstands on our Altar.

May we too like John fall down before Him, dead to the world and alive only for Jesus.

While we see Jesus at Mass hidden under the species of Bread and Wine, John in His Vision saw Him as He really looks like in Heaven, wearing an ankle length robe, with a gold sash around his chest.

In this respect, John’s vision of Jesus is very similar to the Private Revelation the Polish Nun St. Faustina Kowalska had of Jesus on February 22, 1931.

Sister Faustina writes in her diary the following:

(That) evening, when I was in my cell, I saw the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment.  One hand (was ) raised in the gesture of blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast.  From beneath the garment, slightly drawn aside at the breast, there were emanating two large rays, one red, the other pale.

“After a while, Jesus said to me, “Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus I trust in You.  I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel and (then) throughout the world.

“I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over (its) enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory.”

Just as Jesus told John to write down the vision he saw on a scroll, for the world to read, so Jesus told St. Faustina to paint the Vision she saw, for the world to Venerate.

St. Faustina told this to her priest in confession, who told her Jesus was speaking to her figuratively: “Jesus wants you to paint (that) image in your soul.”

But afterward Jesus spoke to her and said: “(The priest is mistaken), My image already is in your soul. . . .I want this image, which you will paint with a brush, to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy.  I desire that priests proclaim this great mercy of Mine towards souls of sinners. Let the sinner not be afraid to approach Me. The flames of mercy are burning Me –  clamoring to be spent; I want to pour them out upon these souls.”

Then Jesus told her why He wanted the words “Jesus I Trust in You” written under the image.  He said to her “Distrust on the part of souls is tearing at My insides. The distrust of a chosen soul (that is, a baptized person) causes Me even greater pain; despite My inexhaustible love for them, they do not trust in Me.  Even My death is not enough for them.  Woe to the soul that abuses these (gifts I’ve given them).”

All of this is private Revelation and we’re not required to believe Jesus really appeared to St. Faustina, still it is amazing that this Polish nun who died in 1938 was absolutely correct in prophesying that this Divine Mercy image of Jesus would be venerated throughout the world, and that this Sunday would become officially known as Mercy Sunday, which became a reality in 2000 by decree of Pope John Paul II.

The Divine Mercy image and devotions surrounding the image such as the Chaplet of Divine Mercy have become so popular because it’s message is much needed in our world today.

Jesus gave the Church in the modern world this consoling image to heal the wounds of this past 20th Century, a century of widespread atheism, unbelief, a century of unprecedented violence and hatred, a century which saw the Jewish Holocaust, the Russian Gulag, the Armenian and Rwandan Genocide,  legalized abortion, abuse of children and many other atrocities.

But instead of sending the world fire and brimstone, God the Father sends us His Son in this image of Divine Mercy, saying to us “I still love you and forgive you.”

It is as if the 20th Century was the century of the doubting Thomas, Jesus appeared to us again in the Divine Mercy image as if to say “Doubt no longer but believe, and trust in me!”

And so as the Risen Lord comes to us on this Easter Feast of the Divine Mercy amidst the Seven Gold Lampstands on our Altar, may Jesus give us the grace to fully Trust in Him, and to be a people generous in works of Mercy:

Giving food and drink to the hungry and thirsty, clothing the naked, housing the homeless, visiting the sick, ransoming the captives, burying the dead, instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful;

Admonishing sinners, bearing wrongs patiently, forgiving offenses willingly, comforting the sorrowful, and praying for the living and the dead.

Jesus we trust in you, may this image of Divine Mercy truly be written in our hearts and lives.

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