The Here is the Now and Mercy is the Place

April 8, 2018

As we gather to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, we recall the magnificent triumph of Jesus Christ who rose from the dead.  We gather this week to experience the effects of so great a love.  One of the Christian movies to hit the big screen this month was “I Can Only Imagine”.  It is the story behind the song most have heard and many have been inspired by.  It is a sad story of a child’s relationship with his dad, the power of belief and how faith can change the world.  Mercy Me is the name of the Christian band. Bart is the lead singer of the band and it is his story portrayed in the movie.  At one crucial point he returns home to find his dad working on the gift of faith and conversion that God had given him.  In a crucial interchange the parent tells the child if God could find it in Him to be forgiving, why couldn’t he.  That message resonates with Bart and he now tells the story of critical mercy, life giving mercy.  To this day he speaks of this faith statement that if God could change a monster like his dad into someone he wants to become like, he has to know God’s mercy is real.

Mercy is a gift and on this Sunday we enter that gift knowing all that took place in the last weeks.  How Jesus was handed over to death, how He rose from the dead and now comes to us with sacramental grace.  Mercy is the joy of possibility, mercy is the love that gets us unstuck from where we have been and what we used to be.  Mercy is the love that pushes through every wall we put up.  Mercy is the life-giving change that occurs because God wills it.

We celebrate mercy, we celebrate grace in the great gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  It is humbling to be the minister of that Sacrament.  Believers admit their sin and God washes their sin away.  God remembers their sin no more.  The hardest part of embracing mercy is to remember our sins no more.  So often evil wants to hold us back.  Darkness wants to keep us from mercy.  Too often God remembers our sin no more but we do and we keep focusing on it.  Today we proclaim mercy, God’s Divine Mercy.  We realize that the sinner we all are, is now bathed in the blood of the cross that purifies us. We do nothing in this process but say yes.

Mercy is the place,

God is waiting with open arms.

Reverend John J. Ouper