On this second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, it is important to reflect on the Risen Lord and how we can be instruments of God’s mercy. When the disciples gathered in the upper room after the resurrection it was more out of fear than of faith, for they did not yet understand how they could receive mercy after abandoning Jesus.
Today, however, we have the incredible opportunity to live in harmony through the sacraments of the church. In particular, the sacrament of reconciliation reminds us that we are continuously in need of God’s mercy. In the Psalms we read, “His mercy endures forever.” It is not a one-time offer, God promises to be your “strength”, “courage”, and to “help” you over and over again. He desires to give us His mercy! God longs for sinners to become saints; the power of God’s grace is so great. Can you imagine the heavenly rejoicing when we accept His mercy?
We, too, can be a gift to those who do not believe or are just starting out on their journey—what a challenge for us to guide others to experience the power of Christ and to encounter His Risen life by sharing the gift of faith. The Lord gives us the ability to do so, so long as we are willing to cooperate. Last year at this time, my husband needed a very big surgery. It would require him being out of work for at least six months. I could see him wrestling with emotions of how he’d adequately provide for our very large family. A dear family friend knew of the situation and generously wrote us a check that would enable us to focus on his healing and not be burdened with the worry of bills and expenses piling up. God allowed us to humble ourselves to accept this gracious gift. It will forever be engrained in our hearts and is an encouragement to share our own acts of compassion with those in need.
To that end St. Faustina has a prayer to be merciful that bears repeating:
Help me, O Lord, that my eyes may be merciful, so that I may never suspect or judge from appearances, but look for what is beautiful in my neighbor’s soul.
Help me, O Lord, that my ears may be merciful, so that I may give heed to my neighbor’s needs.
Help me, O Lord, that my tongue may be merciful, so that I should never speak negatively of my neighbor.
Help me, O Lord, that my hands may be merciful and filled with good deeds, so that I may do only good to my neighbor.
Help me, O Lord, that my feet may be merciful, so that I may hurry to assist my neighbor.
Help me, O Lord, that my heart may be merciful, so that I myself may feel all the sufferings of my neighbor.
May your mercy, O Lord, rest upon me. Amen.
In this joyous Easter season, let no act of compassion and mercy pass you by, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. It could just mean the world to your neighbor.
Hallelujah, He is risen! Jesus, I trust in You.
[Readings, Divine Mercy Sunday: Acts 4:32-35; I John 5:1-6; John 20:19-31]