DIVINE MERCY IN A TIME OF CRISIS
Second Sunday of Easter: Sunday of Divine Mercy
Scriptural Readings: Acts 4:32-35; Ps 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24; 1 John 5:1-6; John 20:19-31
My dear encountered couples:
Today is the Second Sunday of Easter also known as Divine Mercy Sunday. The theme of my homily is “Divine Mercy in a time of crisis.”
We are living in the midst of a global pandemic. This is a crisis unlike anything recent generations have ever experienced. The suffering and death that many continue to experience here in our own cities, towns and neighborhoods is overwhelming. There is fear, panic, greed, hoarding, violence and death. Many have died and many more will die.
When we experience a crisis, it is natural to be overwhelmed by negative feelings. We look to the future with worry and fear. Life is filled with uncertainty. Where is this God of ours? Where is our risen Christ? “My son, my spouse, my mother died and I couldn’t even be there to comfort them. Where are You?” What would Jesus answer to our pleading, our doubting?
Our model for responding to this pandemic should be all those Christians before us who have faced such crises, and gave outstanding witness to Christian charity. From the time of Christians nursing plague victims in ancient Rome down to the present-day Christian hospitals and medical facilities around the world, Christians have been outstanding for going to places where the diseases have been most virulent in order to nurse the sick, bury the dead, and provide whatever aid possible.
In these times of the pandemic, we are being invited to open the eyes of our faith and see the anguish of those who have lost their loved ones to the coronavirus. With the eyes of faith, we are made aware of all the workers ensuring our essential needs of food, water, security, electricity.
And this is the final point: it is with the eyes of faith in the Risen Jesus, that we are moved to action like Jesus when he sees the pain and suffering of others. This requires us to help people avoid infection, overcome illness and recover from the virus whenever possible. There is a compelling moral obligation to avoid actions, behaviors and attitudes which permit the virus to spread and threaten the life and health of others.
More importantly, our faith insists on action in behalf of those who are poor and vulnerable in society. They have a greater and compelling claim on us to provide for them. Saint Faustina demonstrated this sort of courageous service to the poor and those in need. She also received it when she was suffering from the tuberculosis that ultimately took her life. In all things, she teaches us that we must pray, “Jesus, I trust in You.” We must refuse to give way to fear. We must abide in the virtues, repent when we fall, and turn again and again to our loving Lord as we transmit that love and mercy to those around us.
Jesus told St. Faustina (and, through her, tells us all): “I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it.” (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 742).
As the world faces this global epidemic, let us turn with trust to the Divine Mercy. Let us commit to prayer — especially the Chaplet before the Image of Divine Mercy — for all those afflicted with this disease, for all those providing care for them, and for everyone tasked with responding to this crisis.
As we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, let’s renew our own hope in Christ’s Passion. Let's pray that God will use these difficult times to shape us more into the people He intended us to be and to awaken more souls to the free gift of Christ’s Divine Mercy. JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU!