Sunday, March 30, 2008

'Exactly when did God owe any of us forgiveness?' (Divine Mercy Sunday)

Throughout the world,
The Church today celebrates “Divine Mercy Sunday.”
How fitting!

Our readings are full of mercy.
In the Gospel, we see the Lord institute
the sacrament of reconciliation,
which makes as clean as when we were baptized.
We hear how the Lord was so eager
to revive Thomas’s faith.

Also, on this Sunday, you see an image of Divine Mercy,

and perhaps you have heard of the Divine Mercy prayer.
If you aren’t familiar with this, let me tell you about it.

In the 1930s, Sister Faustina, a Polish nun,
was deep in prayer when she saw the Lord Jesus
clothed in a white garment.

One hand was raised in blessing, the other was touching his chest.
From his side, she tells us, “there came forth two large rays,
one red and the other pale.”

She writes, “After a while Jesus said to me,
'paint an image according to the pattern you see,
with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.'"
The Lord told Faustina,
“These issued forth from the depths
of my most tender Mercy at that time
when my agonizing Heart
was opened by a lance on the Cross....
Fortunate is the one who will dwell in their shelter,
for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him."

And it was Jesus who taught Sister Faustina
about the “Chaplet of Divine Mercy.”

If you don’t know how to do it, it’s simple.
Use ordinary Rosary beads;
say an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and the Apostles Creed—
similar to how we begin the Rosary.

Then on the large beads say the following words:
“Eternal Father, I offer you,
the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your dearly beloved son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
in atonement for our sins, and those of the whole world.”

On the smaller beads say,
“For the sake of His sorrowful Passion
have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

Our Lord told St. Faustina: "Say this chaplet unceasingly.
Even the most hardened sinner,
if he recites this Chaplet even once,
will receive grace from My Infinite Mercy.

At 3 pm today, we’ll have Exposition of the Eucharist
at Saint Mary, and we’ll pray the Chaplet together.
Other parishes are having more solemn celebrations,
see the bulletin about that.
There is a plenary indulgence that goes with this,
including going to confession—
if you didn’t get to confession yesterday,
you can go later this week.

It was Pope John Paul, of happy memory,
who instituted this Feast, to emphasize that
“Divine Mercy” is what Jesus is all about.

It’s what Good Friday and the Cross—
which become present for us in every Mass—
are all about.

If we have committed mortal sin, we go to confession:
I tell people, when they see the priest
extend his hands over their heads,
it’s like a shower-head raining down the Mercy of Christ.
When we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus,
that’s Mercy from the very Source!

But there’s one thing more, or else it doesn’t work.
Mercy isn’t just something we get—
Mercy is what we are commanded to share.
That’s what we heard in the first reading,
How the early Christians lived their lives.

Sometimes forgiving others is hard.
But haven’t we been forgiven?
Have we not been given Mercy?
If we think we had it coming, then that’s not mercy;
when your boss gives you your pay envelope,
that’s not a gift—he owed you that.
Exactly when did God owe any of us forgiveness?

So if we accept the Mercy we didn’t deserve,
why do we begrudge mercy to others?
Of course they don’t deserve it—that’s what Mercy is!

What’s truly shocking is how abundantly
Jesus pours out Mercy for everyone,
and yet too few truly accept it and are changed by it.

Every confession is a bath of Mercy;
every Mass is a feast of Mercy…
why should I have to beg or push anyone to come?

As our Lord told St. Faustina:
“I want the whole world to know My Infinite Mercy.
I want to give unimaginable graces to those who trust in My Mercy...."

You and I, as his followers, are not ashamed to admit,
“We received Mercy…
and that same Mercy, we invite you to share.”


Anonymous said...

Nice post Fr!

Anonymous said...

To forgive someone who we think "doesn't deserve it" may risk the sin of pride. Part of our forgiveness might be coming from a place that says "See how good I am! This low life actually deserves a kick in the pants, but here I am, forgiving him!"

It might be better to forgive by refusing to set ourselves up in judgment over others, as Jesus often advises in the New Testament.

Anonymous said...


I greatly admire your blog and come to it frequently. I too visit NLM and am very interested in learining about our faith. Actually I am seriously thinking about the Priesthood, and have been for Four years now. Now, I know im still in high school, so I have time, but there is just something that REALLY keeps pushing that idea on me...
I have jsut started my own blog (to get ideas out, and start some sort of personal public journal), and ask if you, when you get the chance, would give it a glance.


Diane Korzeniewski said...

Father, forgive me, for I have tagged thee.

Fr Martin Fox said...


Thanks for your comments and may God bless you in your discernment.

I have some suggestions for you, which might be better out of the public eye; if you care to, send me an email at

I will readily understand if you prefer not to do that; if that is the case, say so here, and if you don't mind me giving my suggestions in a more public way, I'm fine with that, I wanted it to be your choice.

Anonymous said...

Paul Maurice Martin

Let's be careful not to overgeneralize, since Jesus also says, in Luke 17:3, for example,
[3] Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him;


Vicki aka Diva Mom said...

Fantastic homily, Father! In it I found the answer to one of my prayers. Many thanks for being the messenger!

Brother Declan said...

Thank God, God is so merciful!

Fr Martin Fox said...

Paul, et al.:

My point about forgiveness not being deserved was directed at a comment many parishioners often make to me: how hard they find it to forgive. Rather than get into whether they should view the person as undeserving, I preferred to assist them in getting past the barrier to giving forgiveness, since the warnings from the Lord about failing to forgive are severe.