Dying to open gates of mercy, that is what Jesus did
Divine Mercy Feast in Haarlem
This year the Divine Mercy feast was celebrated in English in the cathedral basilica of Saint Bavo in Haarlem, while a dutch Divine mercy celebration with bishop Punt was held in the shrine of Heiloo.
Many people, especially from the Fillippine community came to the cathedral church to adore the Lord Jesus during the exposition of the blessed sacrament, to recieve the sacrament of reconciliation and to celebrate the Holy Eucharist.
It was a beautiful celebration, well organized, an excellent choir. Many came to confession. I have heard confessions continuously for more than two hours...
In the cathedral basilica a red work-lift was visible (see picture). That is used to paint the words of the Te Deum hymn in the nave of the church.
Also present were Fr. Rm Torres, Fr. Richard Lobo, Fr. Julius Elferink, Fr. Dominique and Fr. Jean Pierre. They heard confessions and concelebrated holy Mass.
The community of the Couples of Christ hosted the feast together with Divine Mercy Apostolate Holland. The FCCN- Hoofddorp-choir gave honour to the Divine Mercy by their beautiful singing.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Fullness of mercy
God has shown us His mercy
in many different ways,
but He never showed us His merciful love
in such a fullness
and to such an extent
as He did through the paschal mystery:
the passion, death and resurrection
of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Is He really merciful?
Sometimes it is difficult for us
to believe that the Lord is really merciful
and that for the life of each of us
He has provided a meaning and a mission,
that His Providence has a personal plan of salvation
for each of us.
We all see suffering and evil
all around in this world.
How is this possible,
we often ask,
why a loving and merciful God
permits this to happen?
Isn’t that contradictory:
God’s mercy and the suffering of people?
Indeed, the suffering in this world
remains a mystery to us.
Surely, we are not able to understand this mystery fully,
but we see one important thing:
God Himself went this way,
He gave Himself
He took up suffering
and He did so to show us His mercy.
The Lord made out of suffering and death
the positive turning point
of the whole history of mankind.
We all know that giving to others,
rendering a service to people
may be very rewarding.
If we render a service to someone else
we may experience
a great inner joy and satisfaction,
since we did what was right,
we acted in a good way
and we feel grateful and happy,
because we feel
that what we did was truly human,
corresponding to our vocation in life
as human beings
created to the image of God.
The gates of mercy
But of course it is different
when we take a final decision
with a grave and burdensome outcome,
especially if the consequence of the good thing we do
is our own death.T
hat you give your life
and chose your own death,
not because you are tired of living,
but out of love for others,
could that make any sense?
Suffering in order to do good,
dying in order to open
the gates of mercy
that is what Jesus did for us.
Many people in our world today
are put before this final decision:
hundreds of thousands of christians for instance
are given nowadays the choice:
either deny their faith and stay alive
or profess their faith and be killed.
They are threathened by terrorists
in Irak, Syria, Africa, Pakistan and so on.
We know from Church history
that this sacrifice, that the blood of the martyrs
became in fact seed
that generated new Christians.
Many of those christians by giving their lives
bear witness to Jesus,
a clear testimony
that not violence, power and threats
have the last word,
that even if we die
our existence does not come to an end,
but that it is the mercy of God
shown to us in the paschal sacrifice
of Jesus Christ,
that is at the end decisive.
Jesus Christ is the Word of God
and His final Word is mercy.
We are invited by the testimony
of so many Christians
and by the life and death of Our Lord,
to stand firm,
not to be shaken to much
by all the negative events, like wars, disasters,
threats and fears,
but to open up our hearts
to have faith
and to receive God’s infinite mercy.
A better place
We know that performing a work of mercy
can be very rewarding and enriching.
The good we perform and do to others,
is done also to ourselves.
By doing good to others
we become ourselves spiritually more beautiful,
it enriches us.
Our little sacrifices therefore
make this world
a better place to live.
The final word
But this final act: giving your life,
does that really can make sense?
Don’t we lose everything
if we give up our life?
It does make sense to give up your life,
if we believe and trust and see
that not our fear for violence and injuries
and suffering and death
nor other fears
should dominate us,
because not human power,
nor evil powers whatsoever,
can turn the scale
or speak the final word.
The final judgment belongs
to Someone else!
God is the one
who in the end
will turn it all to the positive.
Stronger hopefully will be our faith
that whatever might happen to us
- even if we have to suffer or die -
we are in the merciful hands of God.
He always is and will be our future.
Ready to meet us
The Lord came to us
and shared our lives
and He showed Himself a giving person,
healing, helping, forgiving, understanding,
a person ready to meet us,
not judging or condemning on the outside,
never using violence.
In this Easter tide we meet Our Lord
when He shows Himself as Risen Lord
to his disciples.
Time and again we hear
how hard it is for these disciples
to believe that their friend and master
is truly risen from the dead.
In today’s gospel we meet Thomas,
one of the twelve.
He cannot and will not believe
unless he will be able to put his finger
in the wounds and nailmarks.
And once again Jesus comes
and stands in their midst
giving every opportunity to Thomas
to put his finger and see the wounds.
This is an act of mercy of Our Lord:
He went to meet Saint Thomas,
He really helped him in a caring way
to overcome his problem,
to have faith and trust
and saint Thomas saw with his own eyes
that these wounds and the nailmarks
O, Lord, grant us too this mercy,
help us to overcome doubts, fears
and everything that troubles us.
O, sure, we don’t understand everything
and our sufferings will remain a trial and a test.
But the fact that His suffering makes sense,
that His passion is our redemption,
that His cross and sacrifice
is the finest expression of His merciful love,
all this may give us courage and trust
and help us to take up our crosses
and follow Him in His mercifulness.
Pure love is capable of great deeds.
Let me conclude with a prayer of Saint Faustina,
apostle of Divine mercy :
“I want to be completely transformed into Your mercy
and to be Your living reflection, O Lord. ...
Help me, o Lord, that my eyes may be merciful,
so that I never suspect or judge from appearances,
but look for what is beautiful in my neighbours’ souls
and come to their rescue.
Help me that my ears may be merciful,
so that I may give heed to my neighbours’ needs
and not be indifferent to their pains and lamenting.
Help me, o Lord, that my tongue may be merciful
so that I should never speak negatively of my neighbour,
but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all...
Help me, o Lord, that my heart may be merciful
so that I myself may feel the sufferings of my neighbour...
May Your mercy, o Lord, rest upon me”.