A Divine Mercy Sunday Reflection
Rev. Fr. Bonnie Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.
Once upon a time, a boy in a high school class lost his fanciful electronic wristwatch, which everyone admired. He reported to the teacher immediately, and he made all the students face the wall, close their eyes, and raise their hands before searching through their pockets.
At the end of the search, he discovered the wristwatch and returned it to the owner. The students were curious to know who the thief was, but the teacher said nothing and continued his lessons.
Thirty years later, a preacher was waiting for his flight at the lunge in an airport, and suddenly he recognized someone he knew from his high school, a renowned professor in his late seventies.
Walking up to him, the preacher greeted the professor, thinking he would remember him from high school, but the professor could not. So, the preacher said, “Do you remember when someone stole a watch in your class, and you had to search all the students? I was the one you found the wristwatch in his pocket”.
Surprisingly, you did expose me to the class, but you left a note in my pocket with some money attached, and the note said, “Never steal again in your life; I know you wanted to have the wristwatch. Use the money to buy one for yourself.” “Sir,” the preacher continued, “that encounter changed my life for good. I never stole again. I became an evangelist and preacher before I left college”.
When he finished, the professor laughed and said, I now remember the event, but you guys didn’t know that before I started searching, I wrote that note and attached the money. Moreover, my eyes were also closed when searching through the pockets, and even when I got the wristwatch halfway, I continued until everyone was checked.
What can you call what the teacher did to the high school boy who stole the wristwatch? Simply put, he showed him mercy; he got what he didn’t deserve.
Mercy is the Mother of Peace
Today is the Second Sunday of Easter, also known as Divine Mercy Sunday. The Gospel Reading of this Divine Mercy Sunday (John 20:19-31) continues the narration of the events on Easter Sunday, reaching to the Sunday after.
Appearing to the disciples again after eight days, Jesus said: “Peace be with you.” That was both a prayer and a compassionate wish. We heard that they were afraid of the Jews, so they went into hiding.
But the Jews were not after them; they were hiding because of guilt, the guilt of their estrangement from the master. They had no peace in them because they goofed. Jesus knew that they needed peace, and he supplied them with that. Remember that God supplies all our needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).
We are conversant with the doubts of Thomas, who wished to see and touch the nail wounds on his hand and the wound of the lance by his side before he would believe. The truth is that all of them were in doubt; it was just that Thomas was bold enough to verbalize his own. “How can he wish us peace and pray over us after deserting him?” Their minds could have been questioning.
The disciples didn’t merit the Lord’s peace; it was all about Divine Mercy. Mercy is a product of God’s compassionate love, which grants us the good things we do not deserve; in short, mercy overlooks our transgressions and pardons and blesses us with physical and spiritual benefits, just like in our opening story.
Mercy is a powerful attribute of God; God is not just merciful, as Pope Francis would say, “God’s name is mercy.” The Book of Deuteronomy (4:31) says, “The Lord your God is a merciful God.” In the Book of the Lamentations, we read that God’s mercy never ends; they are new every morning (Lam. 3:22-23). In the Magnificat, the Blessed Mother of Jesus tells us that God’s mercy is from generation to generation to those who fear Him (Luke 1:50).
On the platform of divine mercy, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word, became one of us in all things except sin (Hebrews 4:15). Through the work of divine mercy, God made Jesus sin for us so that we can become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). Compassionate divine mercy moved our Lord to suffer and expire on the cross. In fact, the word “tetelestai” is a currency of divine mercy!
Moving Forward: Becoming Channels of Divine Mercy
If God our Father is merciful, we cannot afford to be unproductive of mercy. Our world is messy today because we lack mercy. Our world needs not food, clothing, or shelter but mercy. Every stumbling block becomes a stepping stone when mercy enters, and life is set aright.
We are challenged to be merciful because God’s mercy follows the merciful (Matt. 5:7), just as judgment will be without mercy for anyone who has shown no mercy.
With the gift of divine mercy from the Lord, let us step out to transform our world by flaming the embers of mercy. You could start today by letting go of the past hurt. When Jesus rose from the dead, he didn’t go back to the past to indict the disciples for deserting him; he brought them peace. So what are you bringing to those who hurt you?
Without mercy, life would continue to be messy. May the mess in our world be healed by divine mercy!
God bless you.