Jesus, I Trust in You.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Eight days ago we and all the rest of the 1.3 billion Catholics throughout the world gazed with wonder and gratitude on the Resurrection of our Lord. Today, we turn our eyes back to the little group of Apostles who, eight days after Easter Sunday, were gathered once again in the Upper Room. Jesus appears to them, once again, in the glory of his Resurrected Body, effortlessly passing through their locked doors and their hidden fears. The first thing he does is go after the one lost sheep whose heart is astray: he lets doubting St. Thomas touch his glorious wounds, mercifully removing all doubts that had separated him from the rest of the tiny Church. Then, he looks into the eyes of his Apostles, breathes on them, and gives them the power and task to forgive sins in his name. This was the start of the Sacrament of Confession, which ever since then has been bringing other stray sheep back into the Good Shepherd’s merciful care.
Almost 20 centuries after that encounter between Christ and his Apostles, in the year 2000, Pope St. John Paul II established this first Sunday after Easter as a universal Feast of the Church in honor of that Divine Mercy. In so doing, he was fulfilling a request our Lord himself made in his appearances to the Polish nun, St. Faustina Kowalska. Just the thought of Christ's mercy fills us with confidence and hope – but it should also fill us with humility. If Christ is so eager to spread the news about his boundless mercy, it’s because we need that mercy. It’s because sin is a reality in our lives and in our world, and sin causes real damage that only Christ can repair. This is the tough side of God's mercy – the reality of sin.
We all need to be reminded of these difficult truths, because life in this world can get distracting. The reminder he is giving us today will bear fruit in our lives if we follow the ABC's of the Divine Mercy: (A) Ask for mercy: the best way to ask for his mercy for ourselves is through the Sacrament of Confession, entrusted to the Church on this very day 2000 years ago. Here is what Jesus told St. Faustina about Confession: “When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I Myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy (Diary, 1602).” We can also ask for mercy for others, especially by praying for those who don't trust or believe in Christ's mercy. (B) Be merciful: Jesus told St. Faustina, “I demand from you deeds of mercy ... You are to show deeds of mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere.” This means doing good things for others not because they deserve it or to get a reward, but simply in order to follow in the footsteps of our merciful Lord. Where can we find the strength to do that? (C) Completely trust in Jesus: Jesus himself will give us his grace, if we let him. He will make us into ambassadors of his mercy, just as he did with the first Apostles. Whenever we are afraid to ask for mercy, when we feel too weak to be merciful, we should simply pray the prayer that Jesus told St. Faustina to write underneath the image of his Divine Mercy: “Jesus, I trust in you.” Let’s start during Mass, when we receive the fountain of mercy himself in Holy Communion. Nothing would please him more.
With blessings, Fr. Reichlen