Reflections on the Readings
Divine Mercy Sunday - Second Sunday of Easter
April 19, 2009, Year B
By Dennis Hankins
Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
Theme: Sacred Fountain of Mercy
This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. (1 John 5:6)
In the end all had forsaken him. All that is, except Mary and the disciple whom Jesus loved, also known as John the beloved. John more than the others seems to be contemplative. He ponders upon what he has seen, what he has looked upon and touched with his hands, the very word of life. (1 John 1:1)
Under the cross he witnessed the last act of humiliation, Jesus thrust through with a spear. And it is John who writes 'and at once there came out blood and water.'(John 19:34)
From the cross Jesus bathed the world in his mercy. Water and blood poured from his pierced side, inviting you and me to trust in him. Some might mistakenly believe that Jesus experienced a broken heart. What Jesus' pierced side revealed was a fountain of mercy. It is from this fountain of mercy we receive the power of a new life. In the confessional Jesus assures us of his mercy and love.
Peter explains it is 'by his great mercy we have been born anew...(1Peter 1:3) Jesus revealed the heart of his Father whom Paul describes as the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.(2 Cor. 1:3) It is said the early Church walked in the 'comfort of the Holy Spirit.' (Acts 9:31)
Mercy is the very essence of the Blessed Trinity. It is by extension the ministry of the Church for Jesus gave the Church the power to forgive sins. As an expression of the heart of Jesus the Church reminds us that God's mercy endures forever. In this world the mission of the Church is to show and preach the mercy of Christ.
Mercy is the way God reconciles us to himself. It is a relationship he offers each of us through the new covenant. This is a covenant he made through the blood and water of his only begotten son. What is amazing about grace is that it is given in mercy; not by any merits of our own, but given completely as an act of mercy.
Rich in mercy and out of the great love with which he loved us, Jesus died for us. Upon Mount Calvary from the sacred heart of Jesus a flood gate of mercy was opened. It has inspired missionaries to go to the remotest parts of the earth. Upon the forsaken streets of Calcutta missionary Mark Buntain and Mother Theresa ministered in the power of that sacred flow from Jesus' riven side.
Recently, our little daughter Heidi saw a children's animation of the crucifixion. She was very troubled by the scenes, even questioning the appropriateness of it all for an eight year old. I shared with her that Jesus' crucifixion shows us the greatness of his love for us. I told her how that Jesus could have called ten thousand angels to save him from his dreadful death, but he chose to save us instead. I ended by emphasizing how wonderful it was for us that Jesus, because of his great love for us, chose to endure such a death, even death upon a cross. That seemed to help Heidi. I hope it helps you.
The next time you gaze upon a crucifix, remember as you look upon the pierced side of Jesus, there a sacred fountain of mercy flows for you and for me.
Let us pray: Dear Jesus, you have shown us mercy, may I be the face of mercy to all I meet and love. You have promised, 'blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.' Amen.