From a Creighton Student's Perspective
May 1, 2011
3rd Year Law Student
Today marks Divine Mercy Sunday. Fittingly, we also celebrate the beatification of Pope John Paul the Great. Let us first start with a prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of this wonderful Polish Pope.
In the wake of the Easter Triduum and the joy of Easter morning, with Christ’s pains and sufferings still fresh in our minds, today’s Gospel passage shows an outpouring of God’s never-ending mercy, which he unceasingly bestows upon us. Look at a crucifix. Intensely meditate on the wounds of Christ. Can Jesus show more willingness to forgive us than he already has? He bore the burden of our sins as he died on a cross. I mean seriously, what else is there for him to do. Yet soon after Good Friday, the first time Jesus addresses the Apostles after the Resurrection, Jesus' first command is dealing with mercy. This is striking, and should be a message to us on how important and serious Jesus is about forgiveness.
He commissions the Apostles to be ministers of his mercy, giving them the power to forgive sins through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In the image of the Divine Mercy, given to us by Jesus through St. Faustina Kowalska, this outpouring of mercy and love, directly from Jesus’ wounded heart, continues to wash over the men and women today.
It is no coincidence that just as Jesus opens the gates of heaven for all mankind, he also showers a wave of mercy directly to all those who turn to him. This is not some isolated event that took place roughly 2,000 years ago, or a vision some Polish nun had during the 20th century that has no bearing on us today. This is something alive and real to us, today. Jesus continues to reach out to us. To connect with us where we are in life. We don’t have to wait to become better people before we can turn to Jesus for his mercy and compassion.
Sure, on paper it seems simple; Jesus is there, waiting for us to accept his invitation of infinite mercy, regardless of how scarlet our sins may be. But it’s not always so easy in practice. Why is this? For me it will many times come back to an attachment to sin, or my looking for satisfaction in the wrong places. Whether it is through career aspirations, my studies, or my social life, nothing is ever enough. My heart is always restless, wanting for more. I’m never satisfied when that is all I am looking for in life. If you’re like me, you know it seems hopeless sometimes.
Jesus, though, knows our times present different challenges than any other time in the world. And Jesus knows us, better than we even know ourselves. He gave us the answer and showed us the way to satisfaction. When speaking to St. Faustina, and in effect to you and me, He told us how to find peace, “Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy.” This is just what Jesus wanted us to hear as we move into the third millennium. Jesus offers us an inexhaustible font of mercy. If we abandon ourselves to Jesus, just a little, and swallow some pride, we will begin to overcome our sorrow, the darkness of doubt and desperation.
On this great feast, let us remember the words of now-Blessed John Paul the Great: “There is nothing more man needs than Divine Mercy – that love which is benevolent, which is compassionate, which raises man above his weakness to the infinite heights to the holiness of God."
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