Once upon a time, a king hired a gardener who was very dutiful and provided the king with fresh juicy fruits from the garden every morning. One fateful day, the gardener brought some red cherries to the king, and tasting one, the king who was in a bad mood felt it was sour and threw it at the gardener in anger and it hit him in the face. Turning to the king and smiling respectfully, the gardener said: “God is merciful”. The king was a bit confused why the gardener could not show any sign of displeasure and why he said “God is merciful.
The king asked the gardener to explain why he appeared unhurt and what made him say that God is merciful. He replied and said that he wanted to bring big pineapples and coconuts but later changed his mind to bring the small cherries first. He believed that it was the mercy of God that made him not bring a larger fruit because it could have hurt more.
God is indeed merciful. In fact, the book of Lamentations (3:22-23) says that the steadfastness of God never ceases and His mercy never ends for they are new every morning. Pope Francis was right when he declared that God’s name is MERCY. Without divine mercy, our lives would become messy. What is the nature of divine mercy and how is it relevant to us as we celebrate the Divine Mercy Sunday?
Our lives rest on the platform of divine mercy. Creation itself is an expression of God’s love. God created the world out of nothing (materially speaking), but spiritually creation is a product of God’s love. When humanity failed in Adam, God demonstrated His justice which brought about the eviction of our first parents from Paradise. However, God’s love went after us through the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ whose death and resurrection brought divine mercy to us.
The history of our salvation is rooted in the divine mercy:
- The incarnation is an expression of divine mercy; the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us (John 1:14).
- The passion of Christ is an expression of divine mercy; “but he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes, we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5).
- The death on the cross represents the highest expression of divine mercy when he expired and the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened for the whole world. Out of divine mercy, Jesus Christ became a curse for us to redeem us from the curse of the law and give us blessings (Gal.3:13-14).
- Still hanging on the cross, our Lord Jesus Christ made some mercy- statements that point to God’s mercy for the whole world. To his executioners, he says “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). To the repentant thief, he says: “today thou shall be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
- The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is both an expression and confirmation of divine mercy. A confirmation of the event of Good Friday, when he said: “it is finished” (John 19:30). Yes! It is finished with our tribulations and pains because of the divine mercy that is given to us. The resurrection is a confirmation that our sins are truly forgiven and we have a new life (2 Cor. 5: 17).
Divine mercy should challenge us to be merciful to one another just as our heavenly Father is merciful to each of us (Luke 6:36). Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us also that God will be merciful to those who are merciful (Matt. 5:7). The apostle James (2:13) expands more on this teaching when he writes that judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
One of the key sicknesses of our world is the lack of mercy starting from our families. Little things degenerate into huge fights fought with deep bitterness and resentment. Mercy has gone on vacation in most families with people barely managing and tolerating themselves instead of celebrating one another. Communities are divided into various factions because mercy has no legroom. Nations are in turmoil because people are deficient in the milk of kindness and mercy.
We are encouraged to look forward to and pray for divine mercy. God loves us more and attends to us when we come to Him asking mercy. David was not shy to say: “ Have mercy on me oh God in your compassion” (Psalm 51:1). The blind man Bartimaeus shouted: “Jesus Son of David have mercy on me” (Mark 10: 47). Today, we are also challenged to become channels of mercy for everyone we meet in the journey of life; especially those who hurt us. The deeper the hurt the greater the flow of mercy. As we celebrate God’s divine mercy, let us continue to expand the borders of mercy wherever we go; today God is giving you a new name; Mercy.
Have a wonderful celebration and a great mercy-full week ahead.