The Image of God’s Mercy

Homily at St Dyfrig’s for the Second Sunday of Easter, 2012, which is Divine Mercy Sunday

A homily for children. The delivery at each Mass depended on what the children spot in the image…

Have you ever actually seen Jesus? I haven’t. I know he’s there, and sometimes in prayer I have a sense of what he is trying to say to me. But I’ve never seen him visibly standing before me.

St Thomas wasn’t with the other 10 apostles when they saw Jesus. “I won’t believe unless I can see him and put my finger in the wounds,” he declared. And we’ve just heard how, 8 days later, Jesus did appear to St Thomas and let him do exactly that.

Someone else who actually saw Jesus was a Polish nun called St Faustina Kowalska. She asked an artist to paint an image so other people could see what she saw, and we have a painting of Jesus here in church today. So I am asking you, children, to tell me what you can see.

Light – Jesus is in golden robes with light glowing from his whole body. This is a sign that He is full of God’s power.

Darkness – Jesus is standing on a dark floor and the background is also dark. The picture reminds us that when we feel alone or in trouble, Jesus will be there for us.

A white ray – we do not see His heart, but a white/blue/pale ray is coming from it. Jesus explained to St Faustina that this was the water of baptism by which we are made clean from everything we’ve done wrong.

A red ray – Jesus said this was the Blood we receive in Holy Communion, which gives life to our souls.

His lips – Perhaps Jesus is saying to us, like He said to Thomas, “Peace be with you!” Or perhaps he is breathing on us, reminding us how he breathed on the Apostles and said “Receive the Holy Spirit!”

St John’s reading today said that there were three witnesses: the Spirit, the water, and the blood. The two rays and the unseen Holy Spirit from the lips of Jesus are those same witnesses.

Words – The words “Jesus I Trust In You” are at the bottom of the image. It’s a prayer that each of us is invited to pray.

A hand raised in blessing – Jesus promised to bless each place where this image of Him as “Divine Mercy” was displayed.

Why did Jesus want us to think about his mercy on this special day, the Sunday after Easter? He wants us to be with him at the end of our lives. But what will happen when we get to the gates of heaven? If we have been to confession about anything wrong we’ve done on earth, we know we will be allowed in, but first we might have to remember everything we had to be forgiven for. Jesus might say: “Come in! You are welcome – because I have forgiven this, and that, and the other…” – and we have to endure a painful catalogue of memories before we can step through the gate. (This is one way of understanding Purgatory.)

 But Christ, and the Church, have promised that anyone who prays special prayers on Divine Mercy Sunday – an Our Father, a Creed, an act of trust in the Merciful Jesus and a prayer for the Pope’s intention – and who receives communion on that day and makes confession (on the day or within a week or so either way) will receive the special grace, that all sins up to that moment will have been completely forgotten and not even mentioned at the gates of heaven. We will be able to enter immediately with joy, as if we had been newly baptised. This is the special gift which Jesus offers his church on this day, the Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday.

Jesus, I trust in you!