God Loves you! When we are “… the Instruments of God’s Mercy” to others, we learn to believe it! St. Eugene
Wife says to the husband, “you never tell me that you love me.” Husband replied, “What do you mean? I said I love you when we got married!” “But that was 20 years ago,” she replied.
In order to maintain our belief and trust in our personal relationships, we need to express our affection and friendship, frequently. Likewise, to maintain our religious Faith, we need frequent reminders that God loves us.
The Resurrection does that! Unlike you and I, God does not need our love to maintain God’s love for us. However, when we take time to talk to God and to love/ help other people, then we remind ourselves that God loves us. And that makes all the difference when life is tough.
In fact, let me ask you a question? What do you think Faith is? (if you are reading this, close your eyes and come up with an answer before you continue.).
Faith is KNOWING and BELIEVING that God loves you. The main reason we forget that, or struggle to believe that God still loves me, is because of SIN.
Most of us have probably been taught that SIN is doing the wrong thing. We are bad or we are good depending on our sin and we start arguing about what is really a sin and what is not.
Let me make it easy: SIN means doing (or not doing) something that puts a barrier between us and the people we love (or our community). When we do things that make us feel ashamed, or damage ours or other’s bodies, we can also put a barrier between us and God.
The veil of the temple was torn apart by the death of Christ. The Resurrection reminds us that God’s love is still available if we want it. We grasp God’s love as we forgive others.
Perhaps you find that hard to believe? Just think back to when we were kids doing things that made our parents mad. Mum and Dad might make threats like: if you do that one more time I’m gunna break your leg! But, we know they never stopped loving us. We just needed some tough love to wake us up and stop the barrier between us and them.
Someone once said: life is not fair, but life is still good! The Resurrection grabs that perfectly. It wasn’t fair what happened to Jesus Christ. But, life still came good for Christ and for us.
If we lose this belief in the Resurrection, if we lose the Christian story, our lives will become and more and more fearful. So, you have not wasted your time coming to Mass.
Thanks to Fr Rolheiser (15-April-2019), let’s recall the life of Desmond Tutu suffering under apartheid: Occasionally on a Sunday morning when he would be preaching, armed soldiers would come into the church and line-up along the isles with their weapons in hand, hoping to intimidate him. Tutu, for his part, would smile at them and say: “I’m glad you’ve come to join the winning side! We’ve already won!” In saying this, he wasn’t talking about the battle over apartheid which, at that point, was still far from won. He was talking about the resurrection of Jesus, the definitive triumph of goodness over evil, which assures that, in the end, goodness will eventually triumph over evil, love over division, justice over injustice, and life over death.
Many of you might be worried about the future of our Church. It seems to be under attack, many have left, or never practice our Faith through Mass. We could take this time as an analogy for Holy Saturday – a time of loss, of emptiness.
However, Christ promised He’d never leave the Church. Our job, as the faithful few, is to maintain the Faith – the story of God’s great love affair with us – so that one day, when people come looking for truth, for hope and for love, the Church will come more alive again.
And, the best way to maintain the Faith and teach others that God loves all of us, is to forgive others and laugh often. Divine Mercy Sunday is an important and helpful way of describing the Resurrection of Christ. It’s the ultimate sign of God’s love for us, just like a mother or father laying down their life for their children – even through faithful marriage.
“After saying this he breathed on them and said: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.’” John 20:23.
If we are not part of the solution in making our world a better place, then we ourselves end up suffering. The best way to make our world a better place is to empower other people through forgiveness and/or help. Because, then, they can contribute their gifts and talents to the world.
Finally, it’s difficult to be merciful to others unless we are also merciful to ourselves. Through the Resurrection, Jesus says to each one of us today: “Peace be with you.” God loves you! Happy Easter!
By Gerard Conlan, OMI