John 20:19-31, Divine Mercy Sunday
A week after the glorious solemnity of the Resurrection of the Lord, we celebrate today Divine Mercy Sunday.
But for quite a number of us, we go about this day with unexpressed questions in our troubled hearts: How can a merciful God allow the tragic loss of lives in another senseless bus accident or tolerate impunity in the treacherous murder of a heroic barrio doctor?
We would sometimes rather have a “strong-God” much like a strong-man leader whose harsh but protective nature and seemingly impeccable sense of retribution can bring about the just world we achingly aspire in our lives. We secretly pray that God may swiftly swipe away evil in our land and save all the innocent and keep only what is good. We anguish over these questions and aspirations because we may have convinced ourselves that mercy is for the weak and that justice must always come first.
Not so with our God who does not just love, but is Love. His mercy is not of this world, it is Divine.
It is the kind of mercy that we have witnessed on the cross. Not so much in the pain that the Lord had to endure nailed brutally to that merciless wood, but more so in the powerful unconditional love that He has shown when He asked God’s pardon on our behalf, for indeed we do not know what we are doing to our very own Savior. It is the mighty love that He has manifested on the cross by offering His own wounds as healing for our own woundedness.
When we look at the Lord on the cross, we have to remember that His Mercy has brought us Easter as well. He recognizes our suffering and hears our cries. He sees our woeful state but does not wish for us to remain in the shadows of our Good Fridays. He desires for us to be freed from our most shameful guilt and most burdensome worries. He enlightens and encourages. He graces us with a heart that is capable of change and contrition as He offers forgiveness even before we can sincerely utter our apologies. He graces us with His abundant presence despite our wasteful and prodigal sinful selves.
And for those who suffer pain brought about by others or by life’s unexpected twists and turns, He also shares us His hope—hope that in His wisdom, something truly good and meaningful will arise from our brokenness and darkness. This is the hope that accompanies His Mercy and sees beyond the cross as suffering and death, but glory and new life.
The risen Lord invites us now, then, to live as hopeful Easter people. The mercy that He has shown on the cross is a mercy that needs to grow within us and be imparted to those like us who are in most need of Divine Love. We too need to forgive those who have sinned against us; we too need to console those who have been hurt like us; we too need to embrace those who have been left alone and parted from us.
Divine Mercy is not at all about a weak god who has no control over the whims of evil in our lives. On the contrary, it is the working of an All-powerful, All-knowing God whose merciful promise of true life means, unconditional love for all, here and beyond.