Fr Maurice: The ABC's of Mercy
This second Sunday of Easter has matured in our spiritual consciousness as Divine Mercy Sunday. In the second reading of this liturgy, St. Peter praises God, who has given us, thanks to His mercy, a new birth.
God’s mercy is a birthing process. It’s like a mother bringing forth a new baby. When Peter writes like that, it could very well be that he is reflecting on his own experience with Jesus. He had betrayed our lord, he said, “I don’t know the man.” He denied knowing Jesus. Yet, after the Resurrection, Jesus shows that His love was stronger than Peter’s denial or betrayal.
Jesus says, Simon Peter, “do you love me more than these others?” And Simon was worried that our Lord posed that question to him three times. But in that process of forgiveness a new Simon emerges. And that is what peter has in mind when he says God in his mercy gives us a new birth.
In other words, God’s mercy gives us a new lease on life. Simon emerges from the mercy of Jesus as a very courageous and eloquent leader and preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And finally, Simon’s fidelity leads to his own martyrdom. But what is really impressive is how new Simon is when emerges from God’s mercy.
The mercy of God gives us a new beginning, a new lease on our lives. We all likely have things that weigh us down, and we say, “look at what I did when I was young. How can I have done that?”
We feel guilty, so how can we go through life feeling guilty about ourselves?It is like there is a cloud hanging over us. But the mercy of God is the dispenser of the cloud of guilt. The mercy of God erases the cloud of guilt precisely because there is nothing that you or I have done or will ever do that will be insurmountable or impossible to be forgiven by God.
God’s mercy is stronger and more powerful than our sinfulness and our brokenness. It is stronger than our pain, stronger than all that makes life unpleasant. In fact, you and I are saved only by the mercy of God.
God, rich in mercy, saves the world.
If God’s mercy were not there salvation would have been impossible, we would have been stuck in our brokenness, in our mistakes, in our sinfulness. But because of God’s mercy we have the opportunity to begin again, to start all over, because there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that God’s mercy cannot do. And I say this to you as a forgiven sinner, as one for whom Christ has died.
So what do we do now? In the Divine Mercy Devotion, propagated by John Paul II, from the visionary St. Faustina, the Lord gives us very simple steps; three steps: the ABC’s of mercy.
A stands for ask for mercy.
We have to ask, because as St. Augustine says, the God who created you without you cannot redeem you without you; you have to ask for mercy.
Our Lord says, ask and you shall receive. (Jn 7:7)
So let’s not get tired of asking for mercy. For ourselves for our family members for our friends for our world.
The second step, B, be merciful.
Our Lord himself says, forgive us as we forgive those who sin against us. The onus is on us now to also be merciful to others. The Good Book says do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
And finally, C, completely trust.
When you ask for mercy, when you be merciful on yourself and others you have to completely trust God; completely trust that God’s mercy is there and God’s mercy is stronger. With the ABC’s of mercy we ask for mercy, we be merciful, and we completely trust.
– Fr Maurice