Deacon Bob’s Homily for Divine Mercy Sunday

Divine Mercy Sunday

April 6/7, 2024

Acts 4:32-35; 1 John 5:1-6; John 20:19-31

When I was growing up in the fifties and sixties, almost every Catholic home prominently displayed a painting of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and a crucifix somewhere on wall. Nowadays, this praiseworthy tradition has fallen by the wayside. How much I wish it were to return! I would encourage all of you to get a crucifix and a painting of the Sacred Heart and hang them on a wall of your home. Look at them often, because they will help you answer two important questions. The first is, “Who am I?” and the second is, “What am I to do?” These are questions about your identity and your mission.

While it is true that each of us has a unique identity and a unique mission in life, and that God created us for that reason, it I is also true that we all have a common identity and a common mission. What are they?

I believe our common identity and mission can be found meditating on the crucifix and the Divine Mercy flowing from the Sacred Heart. We are to be men and women of mercy. How necessary mercy is in our world today!

In your heart must beat the Sacred Heart of Jesus! Yes, the Sacred Heart of Jesus within you! St Paul said, “It is no longer I who live; Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20) How can this happen in us? Where must we go?

We must go to the sources o f m mercy here on earth. We must go where Jesus’ mercy are most abundantly found. We must go to the Eucharist and to Confession. The merciful, Sacred Heart of Jesus beats in the Eucharist and in the confession of sins, filling us with His mercy! He has a merciful heart, a living heart, a forgiving heart, and He pours His mercy into our hearts at each Mass and each time we confess our sins. We must come to the Eucharist and to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, if we are to live lives of mercy. We must not stay away. We must come to Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. We must come to the Sacrament of Penance where we will encounter Divine Mercy. We all n need forgiveness and mercy to deeply penetrate our souls if we are to be men   and women of mercy. The Sacred Heart beats in the confessional. God is always ready to remove any sin. That is why we must confess any mortal sins as soon as possible, and to regularly confess even venial sins.

Your heart will beat with mercy if y you soak in the mercy of God. To the extent you accept mercy into your life is the extent to which your heart will be capable of showing mercy to others. Accept God’s mercy, and then show mercy to others.

Do we do this? Do we allow the mercy of God to penetrate our hearts? Will the Sacred Heart of Jesus beat in our hearts for our husbands, wives, children, parents, neighbors, fellow parishioners, and yes, even for our enemies? Will we be merciful to those who do not deserve it? If we are going to be capable of this, then we must be connected to the sources of Divine Mercy that God has provided for us. Mercy and forgiveness are at the center of the Eucharist and at the center or the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Jesus had mercy on the repentant thief.  Will we? Jesus was merciful to the woman caught in adultery. Will we? When Peter denied Jesus three times, He did not ask, “Why did you do that?” but three times he did ask, “Do you love me?” How are we when someone denies us?

Will we have mercy on the man on death row, or will we seek vengeance? Will we wage war or seek peace?  Will we love those who hate us, o r will we hate in return?  These are serious questions. The answers we give will determine our eternal destinies.

To be merciful to those most difficult to forgive, those most difficult to love, we must have a deep faith, and pray, “Jesus, I trust in you.”  If we find it difficult to show mercy, maybe we should look at how open we are to God’s mercy in our lives, how often we really pray the Mass, how often we sincerely repent of our sins in Confession.

If we neglect the Eucharist and Confession, our spiritual lives will dry up and die.  Our   faith will weaken, if we don’t come to these sources of mercy. I dare say we will be unable to show mercy to others.

Jesus, I trust in you! This is our constant prayer. Jesus, make my heart like yours, we beg. Make my heart beat with the mercy you have shown me. Jesus, I trust in you! Amen!

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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