Over the last two weeks we have remembered and celebrated, in whatever way we’ve been able, the raw, bare reality of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection. Hopefully we’ve been able to reflect and pray on these raw facts of Jesus’ life and absorbed them into our hearts. Now, as the initial celebration of these saving events comes to a close, we begin to reflect on the outpouring effects. We begin over these next weeks to unpack the results of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection. We journey like the disciples in the first days and weeks after Jesus’ rising from the dead, seeing the wondrous works of God as His grace unfolds in our lives through Jesus.
On this Sunday, then, we reflect on the Cross and Resurrection as a comprehensive act of Divine Mercy, and because of that, we call this Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday. This reflection comes on the first Sunday after Easter because, in a sense, it tells us where we stand with God after the tumultuous events of last week.
We are a broken race. There is so much that is good and noble about the human race, so much that is written into our very bones. We seek the truth, we truly and deeply desire what is good for others as well as ourselves, we make things beautiful, simply for the sake of their beauty. Alongside these things, we were made with an eternal destiny. We were made in the image and likeness of God. But so often those good and noble things are warped by sin: we deny truths that oppose us and make us uncomfortable, we prefer our own good over that of others, we disparage the beauty and wonder of others as if it somehow defeated our own wonder and beauty. So often, we seek that eternal destiny in the things around us, but our happiness turns to dust in our hands. Through sin, we had distorted who we were, and hidden our likeness to God by wrapping ourselves in earthly things.
Reflection from Fr. James Barber
And then comes Jesus. In His infinite mercy, our loving Father sent us a Saviour to do two things: liberate us from everything that holds us back and distorts who we are, and to finally establish the way of eternal life, of accomplishing the eternal destiny for which we were all made. By his crucifixion, and our entering into the Cross through Baptism, our sins die with Jesus. And when he rose from the dead in conquest of Death itself, our own sins were conquered too. This is the moment of our liberation, and whenever we return to Jesus in our complex life, we return to the outpouring mercy that is his victory over sin and death.
Now that all that holds us back is removed, now that our newfound holiness has restored who we really are, we need only follow Jesus for the fulfilment of our eternal destiny to be fulfilled. Just as our lives imitate him in his life, as we strive to live according to the grace poured into our hearts, so will our death imitate his, so that our grave becomes not a place of sadness, but a place of victory, so that our last moment becomes the moment of triumph through Jesus Christ.
How is any of this related to God’s Divine Mercy? Because we have earned none of it. We have deserved nothing. But he came anyway, like a father seeing his wayward son coming home in destitution. Knowing our sinfulness, knowing the dark places of our hearts and minds, he comes anyway, and opens up the treasures of his love, of his mercy, and of his forgiveness, through Jesus Christ on the Cross.
Take this time to meditate and to be thankful for the immense mercy of our Saviour as we journey back to our heavenly homeland even in this difficult time.