Readings for April 19, 2020
Divine Mercy Sunday
Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
1 Peter 1:3=9
Last week, one of the many Easter tweets I read said something along the lines of, “the stone wasn’t rolled away so Jesus could get out. It was rolled away so his disciples could get in.” In doing so, of course, they discovered the empty tomb. For the most part, that seems to have left them bewildered. In this week’s Gospel, we see that they are still afraid and locked in the upper room. Proving again that he doesn’t need help getting in or out of a place that has been sealed off, Jesus enters the room despite it being locked saying, “Peace be with you.”
And so it is with our hearts also–the peace of Jesus can enter our fearful and locked hearts.
A number of years ago just before Easter weekend, my dad had a heart attack. It was not his first (nor would it be his last) heart attack but it was serious enough that he was to be put in an ambulance and taken to a hospital 80 miles away. My mom was, of course, terrified. My brothers sprung into action. One was readying to board a plane but left the airport to drive to get my mom and bring her to the hospital. Another lived out of state and immediately booked a flight to come into town that evening. Another brother’s wife was going to drive from about 80 miles the other way to the hospital. I was the closest to the hospital and I left about the time I thought it would take me to get there at the time the ambulance arrived. As I was driving, my heart was locked with fear that I would be alone at the hospital when he arrived, and that I may have to share bad news with all the others on their way there. It was then that I recalled the voice of my wife as I drove off, “There are at least 25 people praying right now.” As I thought about that, Jesus’ peace overcame my heart. I was immediately calm. There was no promise of an outcome I desired; rather, there was a peace that Jesus was with me and I could handle it, no matter what happened.
Jesus can break the seal and open the locks. His mercy is available for us, offering us a loving forgiveness for having put up the barriers to a relationship with him and offering us his peace. That is, I believe, the essence of Divine Mercy Sunday. When we welcome his mercy, we can accept his peace. When we accept his peace, we can live in his love.
Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us, and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments, we might not despair, nor become despondent, but with great confidence, submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself. Amen
-Divine Mercy Chaplet closing prayer