My Dear Sisters and Brothers gathered here to praise the Lord for his mercy to us! God is a great artist. Genesis tells us beautifully the story of creation. Genesis also tells us profoundly of the distinction between creation of humans and the rest of the world. Are we the only living organisms on this planet? Are we the only organisms breathing on this planet? We are not. However the Bible is very firm to proclaim that the liveliness of people came from God who breathed into their nostrils a breath of life. At the outset of human story there was a distinct action of God who implanted something of himself in humans so that people could be capable of having a loving relationship with God and with each other. This capability however implies that each single person is a piece of art in making. God doesn’t make wrong moves in what he does for us, but we do when we choose against God, when we sin. How disastrous it is can be found out in Genesis too. The tragic story of the fall is told there. Its epidemic consequences we live every day when we experience that, as St Paul wrote in the Letter to the Romans: “I cannot understand my behaviour. I fail to carry out the things I want to do, and I find myself doing the very things I hate…What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Can you also detect God’s mercy at work in what St Paul wrote? Paul wanted to be different. He hated sin. He desired to be freed of it. Our world needs this mercy so much as our world indulges in sin and calls it good. It happens because our world doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ. So many of our brothers and sisters don’t believe in Jesus and that’s why they don’t know how to deal with sin. If one doesn’t know how to deal with sin they say that sin is OK. OK is not a solution here. On the contrary facing the reality of sin, doesn’t matter how petrifying it can be, leads to facing the sight of the Merciful Lord. No one can face consequences of sin without looking into Jesus’ eyes. Remember Judas. He couldn’t handle his sin. He killed himself. That’s why our Blessed Lord has given the world, which doesn’t have courage to face sin, his message of mercy. Only Jesus, who loves people so much, could expect of his priests to take on extra work in the busiest time of the year. In terms of urgency this message of Divine Mercy is the best means and the best calling for all of us to get it across to others.
How has God shown us his mercy? By giving us his Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins, who was raised to life to justify us and who has been glorified at the right hand of the Father to judge the living and the dead. What does this Jesus do for us sinners? He breathes into us the Holy Spirit, the very life he shares with his Father. The Gospel for this Divine Mercy Sunday gives us a scene from the room where the disciples were gathered. Jesus came to them and he did what God did at the beginning: “He breathed onto them.” What I find fascinating is that Jesus didn’t give them any time to enjoy that but immediately he told them to go and through preaching and sacraments provide others with the same experience of mercy they were granted: “Receive the Holy Spirit. – he said - For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven, for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.”
My Sisters and Brothers! Believe those words of Jesus. Trust him with your life. Praise him for his mercy to you. Spread the message of his mercy which can evoke new hope in those who out of fear can only say that sin is OK and keep on going the path of destruction.
This Sunday for two millennia has been also called White Sunday after the white robes worn by newly baptised. Those robes were a reminder of what God did for them in the sacrament of Baptism but those robes were also a reminiscent of the robes of the angels at the empty tomb of Jesus. Those angels proclaimed the resurrection of Christ. We who have been baptised have been called to witness by our words and actions to the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
For those who may still feel intimidated I would like to proclaim the words of Jesus which St John heard on the island of Patmos: “Do not be afraid, it is I, the First and the Last; I am the Living One. I was dead and now I am to live for ever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and of the underworld.”