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Sunday, April 8, 2018

God is Merciful for that is His Nature

Sermon by Fr. Joseph Mungai, FMH
Divine Mercy Sunday, April 8, 2018
Hospital Chaplaincy, Long Island, New York

We cannot talk of the mercy of God without believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who accomplished this mercy in its purest, highest and most loving form.

"Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1John 5:5) In the divine mercy chaplet we repeat the phrase "for the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world." The entire Easter celebration is about the mercy of God. 

Christ came through water and blood and from these we have the fountain of mercy.
(John 19:34) This mercy of God has been extended in time and space and in eternity; "for his love endures for ever." All sacraments acclaim this mercy particularly Baptism, Eucharist and Confession/Reconciliation.

Jesus himself mandates His Apostles to extend the Mercy of God to people. "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven , and whose sins you retain are retained." (John 20:23) Any Christian who believes in Jesus and in God must also believe in the Sacramental Mercy of God exercised by Jesus Himself through the Holy Spirit in the person of the ordained minister. 

Many Christians, Catholics and non-Christians continue to be doubting Thomas's. They don't believe in the Sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation which is truly the work of the mercy of God. While Thomas doubted that Jesus was alive, visible and risen; we in our turn doubt the same. If we
don't believe in sacramental absolution for our sins or approach the sacrament with fear, then we fail to recognize the risen Lord. And if Christ never rose from the dead it means the mercy of God was in vain.

The mercy of God becomes a mission of being sent out.
"As the Father has sent me, so I send you." (John 20:21) Pope Francis -- in the concluded Year of Mercy 2016 -- appointed priests from all over the world and sent them as "missionaries of mercy." These were to be "living signs of the Father's readiness to welcome those in search of His pardon." (Misericordiae Vultus). 

As God shows us His mercy, we also go forth looking for those who need God's mercy. Every now and then we are invited to come for confession. The priests visit the parishes and churches to offer the possibility of the mercy of God. The mission applies also to those who are not ordained ministers. All who are children of God ought to love one another and forgive each other. This is obedience to this mercy of God. "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the Father loves also the one begotten by him." (1John 5:1)

"In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments." (1John 5:2)
 Celebrating the mercy of God does not mean sinning so that his mercy may be shown upon me. It means striving to be obedient to God's command and allowing His mercy to overpower us when --due to our human weakness -- we fall.

The mercy of God is the greatest victory over death, sin, darkness, evil and satan. We are therefore conquerers of the 

mercy of God. "For whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith." (1John 5:4) The fact that we believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who came to save us from our sins, then already we are victors and fruits of this mercy. How do we become sharers of this mercy of God? 

Since we are followers of Christ we must be witnesses to the society, church, family, nation and the entire world. We must be merciful to those in need and share the God given resources with others.

Being merciful doesn't mean sympathizing with sin, but the sinner; nor sympathizing with falsity, corruption, injustice, but truth, justice and peace. The first Christian community had one soul and one mind. "With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all." (Acts 4:33) It needs a merciful heart to

sell ones possessions and share them with others. It needs a person of strong faith in the risen Lord to do so. "My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior."(Is.12:2) Christians have power to conquer the world through Him who conquered it first.

The Resurrection of Christ is the source of all unity, forgiveness and peace. The first words to His disciples are "Peace be with you." What is peace if not foremost reconciliation and mercy of God. Even when today some nations remain at war, terror within or from
Fr. Joe Mungai
outside, the peace of God still prevails. God was not pleased in those days by the blood of any animal/human sacrifice to bring peace and forgiveness to the world. There is no need therefore to continue shedding human blood as if it is to save anyone from their sins. Only the blood of Christ son of God is sufficient. 

Be merciful on us Lord.

Readings for the  DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY -- 2nd Sunday of Easter. (Acts 4:32-35; Ps 118; 1Jn 5:1-6; Jn 20:19-31).

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