Homily from the 2nd Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday) - Year A
This weekend, we also celebrate the beatification of Blessed Pope John Paul II.
And this Sunday we celebrate a day institutued by Blessed Pope John Paul II, Divine Mercy Sunday, a day in which we give thanks to Christ for the mercy He pours out upon us. In the 1930’s, a Polish nun, Saint Faustina Kowalska, received visions of Jesus in which he asked St. Kowalska to spread the message of His mercy. She did so by writing about her visions in a diary. And she also had a painting made of her vision of Christ, the Divine Mercy image.
Today, the Divine Mercy of Jesus, the water and Blood from his pierced side fall upon us and touch us.
Our Mass today began with a sort of “baptism” as we were touched with Holy Water from the Baptismal Font.
And the Mass today will end with another Sacrament: the Holy Eucharist as we are touched with the Blood of Christ.
And the message I want to pass along to you is really quite simple. Jesus wants us to stay in touch with Him. Jesus wants intimacy with us. Again and again and again.
Every time we walk into the church, we bless ourselves with Holy Water, making the Sign of the Cross, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. This isn’t just an empty ritual gesture. Every time we touch those Baptismal waters, we are renewing the promises we made at our Baptism: to reject Satan, and all his works, and all his empty promises; and that we believe in God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit and the instrument for doing His Divine Will here on earth: the Holy Catholic Church. Through this simple action, we are saying “Lord, You are on my side and I am on Yours; and I will follow You and You alone and I will faithfully follow all that You teach through Your Church.”
Every time we walk up to this sanctuary to receive the Eucharist, we are entering into Divine Intimacy with Jesus in which He hands over to us His very own Body and Blood. Jesus’ love and mercy for us is so great and so intense, that He desires that we not just know Him, not just admire Him, not even to just follow Him, but to truly become one with Him. And today, a number of our children will enter into this kind of union with Him for the very first time as they make their First Holy Communion.
In his doubt, in his disbelief, in his despair; in his refusal to accept that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead, and was indeed still with us; Thomas said, “I will not believe unless I touch Jesus.”
One week later, Jesus answered Thomas’ prayer. Jesus said, (in a manner of speaking) “If seeing is believing, then here am I. If touching is believing then touch my pierced side.”
I want to urge our children making their First Holy Communion today, as well as their parents, and really all of us gathered here today to stay in touch with Jesus and His Divine Mercy. Make that blessing with the Holy Water and receive His Precious Blood again and again and again each and every Sunday. Grow in intimacy with Jesus.
Do not let doubt, or grief, or temptation, or unbelief, or uncertainty about your future, or what seem to be unanswered prayers trick you into thinking that Jesus isn’t real or that Jesus doesn’t care about you or isn’t listening to you. Jesus is real, He does care about you and He is always listening to you. Do not be like Thomas: do not doubt.
And at the same time, be like Thomas and touch the pierced side of Jesus. Touch His Divine Mercy. And receive His Divine Mercy.