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A Reflection On The 2nd Sunday In Easter - Divine Mercy Sunday By Fr Isidore Clarke, O.P.

A Reflection On The 2nd Sunday In Easter - Divine Mercy Sunday                                                                                 By Fr Isidore Clarke, O.P.

Greetings from Fr. Isidore Clarke on the 2nd Sunday of Easter, which is known as 'Divine Mercy Sunday.'

"Peace be with you!"That was the risen Lord's greeting when He first appeared to His followers.They certainly needed that reassurance.His brutal crucifixion had dashed all the hopes they had placed in Him.As His followers, they were in danger of being rounded up and executed.After His death they never expected to see Him again.When He did re-appear, they needed to be reassured that He had really risen from the dead, and was not some kind of apparition.

But "Peace be with you" was much more than a reassuring greeting.It summed up the whole purpose of the Son of God becoming man, the whole reason for His living among us and dying on the cross. He was the human expression of the face of God, which is mercy.His mission was to make our peace with God, through His death on the Cross.That's a peace which only He could give. Today's Divine Mercy Sunday sums up what we've been celebrating during Holy Week.

Today's Gospel is especially appropriate for Divine Mercy Sunday.The crucified and risen Lord breathes on those whom He has chosen to continue and spread the peace-making, which He accomplished through His death on the cross.Just as God had breathed life into Adam in the first creation, so now the risen Lord breathed on the disciples, giving them His divine power to spread God's new creation, through the forgiveness of sins.That was Christ's mission; that is the mission He has given His Church -to be God's ministers of reconciliation.We, the Church, are to reflect the face of God, which is mercy.

Rightly, we celebrate and rejoice in the gift of God's mercy, which embraces even the greatest of sinners. No- one is a hopeless case, beyond redemption.The greatest of saints would be the first to recognise their need for God's forgiveness, the first to seek it.

But Jesus repeatedly insisted that if we want God to forgive us, we must forgive those who have harmed us.That's the uncomfortable challenge of the feast of Divine Mercy.We are called to be what St. Paul calls, 'ministers of reconciliation' -to be Christ-like in making the first move towards making peace.That means we must be like Christ at times when we are the innocent injured persons.

But of course, we are not always innocent.Sometimes we do offend God and hurt each other.Then we must have the honesty to admit our fault and seek forgiveness.

During the Year of Mercy of last year Pope Francis frequently urged us to obey Christ's words, "Be compassionate, as your Heavenly Father is compassionate."Compassion is another dimension of mercy, which involves being sensitive to the suffering and coming to their aid.Pope Francis condemns a self-centeredness resulting in what he calls, 'global indifference' to other peoples' suffering.Today's feast should shake us up and make us sensitive to their need and inspire us to come to their assistance.The best place start is with those around us.

Today's feast of Divine Mercy celebrates the wonder of God's forgiveness.It proclaims Christ's mission to reconcile us to God, the mission He has given us to be His ministers of reconciliation.Only if we share the mission of Christ the Peace Maker will we be true sons and daughters of God.Certainly this feast is reassuring, but it should also make us uncomfortable and inspire us to action.

The peace Christ, which the world cannot give, be with you.

God bless you.

Isidore O.P.

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