“Divine Mercy never gives up on us” by Sr Máire O’Byrne FMA

“Divine Mercy never gives up on us”                                         Divine Mercy Sunday Reflection

 

I read a story recently of a minister and his wife who were having problems with their teenage daughter. Finally, they were called to collect her from the police station, to which she had been taken for being drunk and disorderly.

On the way home, the mother handed the young woman a stone. “What does this mean?” she asked angrily. “That stone took 5 million years to form and it will be as long before we give up on you!”

In the psalm we read repeatedly; “His Love endures forever” and in the Gospel reading we see Jesus who is determined not to give up on his weak and frightened disciples. He finds them locked in the upper room for safety and gives them his peace. He challenges them to go out and spread his mercy, love and forgiveness.

When he returns a week later, he finds them still locked in and this time accompanied by Thomas, for whom ‘seeing is believing’. Patiently Jesus shows that he has listened to Thomas’ struggles with faith as he calls him to touch and see. Thomas responds with a beautiful act of faith. He has touched the human Jesus and recognises him as his God: “My Lord and my God”. But it will take the Spirit to give the apostles courage to bring the message of God’s merciful love to their brothers and sisters.

Today’s gospel concludes with statement that not everything has been written. According to Pope Francis, these words continue to challenge us as followers of Jesus today: “the Gospel of mercy remains an open book, in which the signs of Christ’s disciples, which are concrete acts of love and the best witness to mercy, continue to be written.  We are all called to become living writers of the Gospel, heralds of the Good News to all men and women today.”

In the first reading the message comes alive as we see the first Christian community not only witnessing by their words, but above all by their way of living: “they shared their food gladly and generously; they praised God and were looked up to by everyone”. Those who saw them would be moved to remark, “see how these Christians love one another”.

In the words of David Kauffman’s beautiful hymn, Jesus tells us: “You cannot go below my resting arms, no matter how fast or far you fall. No matter how lost you have become, my embrace is wider than the sun”. This conviction “is a cause of great joy for [us]” even when our “faith is tested and proved like gold” as the second reading reminds us.

Let us conclude by praying with Pope Francis that we may, “give thanks for so great a love, which we find impossible to grasp.  Let us ask for the grace to never grow tired of drawing from the well of the Father’s mercy and bringing it to the world: let us ask that we too may be merciful, to spread the power of the Gospel everywhere