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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Divine Mercy is God's Gift to Our Time!

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
Divine Mercy Sunday, April 23, 2017
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Tucson, AZ

Today is the Second Sunday in Easter and  Divine Mercy Sunday!

Divine Mercy is God's gift to our time, declared Pope Saint John Paul II in his sermon at the canonization of Saint Faustina Kowalska. He canonised the young Polish nun in 2000. Her visions of Jesus Christ revealed to the world the boundless love and mercy of our God.  

In a world filled with suffering, violence, and confusion, Saint Pope John Paul II proclaimed that the Sunday after Easter would be the feast of Divine Mercy, therefore fulfilling one of requests of Christ made through Saint Faustina.

Saint John Paul II recognized that the choice for Divine Mercy Sunday to be celebrated on the second week of Easter was not random but instead had been a little recognised part of the Church from the beginning. 

The readings for today (John 20:19-31) -- with Thomas invited to put his hands into the side of Christ to aid his unbelief -- liturgically allow us to celebrate the mystery of God's self sacrificing love. God so loved the world, He sent His only Son. 

That Our Lord gave Saint Faustina revelations of His Mercy during the early 20th century is no coincidence. God sent his message of Divine Mercy into our world as He knew we would be entering into difficult times.

Saint Faustina lived 
during the advent of World War I, a critical time in human history. Before her death in 1938, she predicted that
St. Faustina, Secretary of
God's Divine Mercy
"there will be [another] war, a terrible, terrible war," and she asked the nuns to pray for Poland.

In her messages from Jesus, Saint Faustina seemed to indicate urgency in Our Lord’s message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. God knew that the wars and violence and dangers would continue to escalate and that the message would be needed even more in our times. It is of utmost importance that we call upon God’s mercy because the time of judgement is nearing. 

In His messages given to Saint Faustina our Lord Jesus told Faustina that “she will prepare the world for [His] final coming” (Diary 429). Our Lord Jesus said to Saint Faustina, “Speak to the world about My mercy ... It is a sign for the end times. After it will come the Day of Justice (Diary 848).” Our Lord said, “I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of sinners. But woe to them if they do not recognize this time of My visitation” (Diary 1160). He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice. (Diary 1146). This is a reference to what happens to sinners if they refuse to repent. 

In one of her visions in 1935, Saint Faustina writes: "I saw an Angel, the executor of God's wrath... about to strike the earth...I began to beg God earnestly for the world with words which I heard interiorly. As I prayed in this way, I saw the Angel's helplessness, and he could not carry out the just punishment." 

The following day an inner voice taught Saint Faustina to say the prayer of the Divine Mercy Chaplet. I would recommend all Catholics to learn and pray this prayer. As some of you know, when we pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, we repeat the words, “For the sake of His sorrowful passion have mercy on us and on the whole world.” 

In these words, we are asking God to intervene in our lives and in our world so that all will heed Our Lord’s call of repentance. We are begging our Lord to give us more time so that more persons will convert their lives to God before his justice descends upon the Earth.

My brothers and sisters, let us take to heart the message of Divine Mercy given to our
Fr John Paul Shea
Church through Saint Faustina. Like the message of Fatima which was also given to our Church in the early 20th century, the message of Divine Mercy calls us to recognize the seriousness of the times in which we live today and our need for repentance and conversion.

Our Lord is coming again, and He is coming soon as a just judge. We must never forget this. But He doesn’t want anyone to perish. He wants to save us because He is merciful.

The message of Divine Mercy therefore is a message of urgency. We do not know when Our Lord Jesus is coming again, but it is clear that we have reached a critical phase of the end times which began with the birth of our Church 2000 years ago. In just the past century alone our world has seen more violence, more wars, and more disregard for God’s revealed truths than anytime throughout the past 2000 years! With the rapid increase of immorality in this society and world, even within our Church today we are witnessing compromises toward the truths of our faith given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ.

As we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday on this second week of Easter, let us understand the seriousness of our call to be faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ and the teachings He has given to our Church. Let us call upon our Lord’s mercy for ourselves and for the world. Let us seek God’s mercy while there is still time because time is short! For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

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