When someone speaks about the Lord’s immeasurable mercy, and how that applies even to us, we may object that we keep falling. But the Lord, the Pope says, knows this and regardless, is always ready to raise us up…
Pope Francis expressed this during his homily today, Divine Mercy Sunday, April 19, 2020.
This year, for the 20th anniversary of the Canonization of Sister Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), and the institution of Divine Mercy Sunday by the Polish Pontiff, Pope Francis, among coronavirus lockdown almost worldwide, presided over Mass in the Roman church of Santo Spirito in Sassia (very near the Vatican), home to Rome’s Divine Mercy shrine.
The Mass was celebrated in private and concluded with the recitation of the Regina Coeli.
The Lord, Francis said in his homily, does not want us to keep thinking about our failings; rather, the Pope said, He wants us to look to Him.
“For when we fall,” the Holy Father said, “He sees children needing to be put back on their feet; in our failings He sees children in need of his merciful love.”
“Today, in this church that has become a shrine of mercy in Rome, and on this Sunday, that Saint John Paul II dedicated to Divine Mercy 20 years ago, we confidently welcome this message,” Francis said, recalling: “Jesus said to Saint Faustina: ‘I am love and mercy itself; there is no human misery that could measure up to my mercy’ (Diary, 14 September 1937).
The Pope pointed out how last Sunday, we celebrated the Lord’s Resurrection, and this Sunday, rather, we witness the ‘resurrection’, if you will, of His disciple, Thomas.
“In life,” Francis admitted, “we go forward tentatively, uncertainly, like a toddler who takes a few steps and falls; a few steps more and falls again, yet each time his father puts him back on his feet. The hand that always puts us back on our feet,” he said, “is mercy: God knows that without mercy we will remain on the ground, that in order to keep walking, we need to be put back on our feet.”
We Can Ask Ourselves …..
“We too can ask ourselves,” the Pope encouraged: “Have I given my failings to the Lord? Have I let him see me fall so that he can raise me up?” Or is there something I still keep inside me? A sin, a regret from the past, a wound that I have inside, a grudge against someone, an idea about a particular person… The Lord waits for us to offer him our failings so that he can help us experience his mercy.”
Thomas, Francis noted, can now touch them and know of Jesus’ love and how much Jesus had suffered for him, even though he had abandoned Him. In those wounds, Thomas touches with his hands, the Pontiff said, God’s tender closeness.
Even if Thomas arrived late, Francis said, once he received mercy, he overtook the other disciples: “he believed not only in the Resurrection, but in the boundless love of God. And he makes the most simple and beautiful profession of faith: “My Lord and my God!” (v. 28).”
We Need the Lord to Discover, With Our Vulnerability, How Precious We Are
In the time of trial that we are presently undergoing, we too, like Thomas, with our fears and our doubts, have experienced our frailty,” the Pope acknowledged, stating: “We need the Lord, who sees beyond that frailty an irrepressible beauty. With him we rediscover how precious we are even in our vulnerability.”
On this feast of Divine Mercy, Francis said “the most beautiful” message comes from Thomas, “the disciple who arrived late; he was the only one missing.” In spite of this, the Pope reminded, the Lord waited for Thomas. “Mercy does not abandon those who stay behind.”
“Now, while we are looking toward to a slow and arduous recovery from the pandemic,” the Argentinian Pontiff said “there is a danger that we will forget those who are left behind.”
An Even Worse Virus…
“The risk is that we may then be struck by an even worse virus, that of selfish indifference. A virus spread by the thought that life is better if it is better for me, and that everything will be fine if it is fine for me. It begins there and ends up selecting one person over another, discarding the poor, and sacrificing those left behind on the altar of progress. The present pandemic, however, reminds us that there are no differences or borders between those who suffer.”
Noting we are all frail, equal, and precious, the Pope prayed: “May we be profoundly shaken by what is happening all around us: the time has come to eliminate inequalities, to heal the injustice that is undermining the health of the entire human family!”
“Let us welcome this time of trial,” Francis underscored, “as an opportunity to prepare for our collective future.”
Pope Francis concluded, saying: “Today the simple and disarming love of Jesus revives the heart of his disciple. Like the apostle Thomas, let us accept mercy, the salvation of the world. And let us show mercy to those who are most vulnerable; for only in this way will we build a new world.”
The Mass and the recitation of the Regina Coeli were broadcast live on television by Vatican Media.
Saint Faustina Kowalska, the Apostle of Divine Mercy, was born on August 25, 1905, in Glogowiec, Poland. Her process was opened at the diocesan level in the 1960s and was closed in Rome in December of 1992. In Rome, Pope John Paul II beatified her in April of 1993 and canonized her on April 30, 2000. On the same day, the Pope instituted the liturgical feast of Divine Mercy, to be observed on the Second Sunday of Easter.
Through His intermediary, Jesus transmitted to the whole world His great message of Divine Mercy and showed a model of Christian perfection founded on trust in God and on an attitude of mercy towards one’s neighbor. This feast is prepared with a novena, which begins on Good Friday.
Marina Droujinia contributed to this article
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