Divine mercy feast in Weesp
Nederlands-Filippijnse gemeenschap viert zondag van de barmhartigheid
Beloken Pasen is sinds het jaar 2000 zondag van de barmhartigheid en op vele plaatsen komen gelovigen bijeen om deze dag bijzonder te vieren, zich Gods barmhartigheid meer en dieper bewust te worden en die af te smeken voor Kerk en wereld en voor alle persoonlijke en gezins-intenties.
Ook de Nederlands-Filippijnse gemeenschap kwam in groten getale bijeen voor de Barmhartigheidszondag-gebedsdag, dit jaar in de Laurentiuskerk in Weesp.
Tijdens de aanbidding waarmee de dag begon was er biechtgelegenheid, waar druk gebruik van werd gemaakt. Voor mij was dit een goede gelegenheid om biecht te horen. Daarna volgde de feestelijke heilige Mis (in het Engels) opgeluisterd door een Filippijns koor en een soliste.
Tijdens de Mis heb ik Ruud Heek en Malou Pimentel de zegen gegeven die voorzien is bij een huwelijksjubileum want zij mochten met hun zoons Kenneth en Kevin gedenken dat zij vijfentwintig jaar waren getrouwd. Na de heilige Eucharistie volgde een agape-maaltijd waarvoor de heerlijkste gerechten waren voorbereid door leden van de Filippijnse gemeenschap. Hieronder volgt de homilie die ik bij deze gelegenheid heb gehouden.
Ook in Heiloo was een viering van barmhartigheidszondag, samen met de bisschop mgr. J. Punt.
Dear brothers and sisters, I am very pleased that you have come here today to celebrate with a special prayer meeting this sunday of divine mercy which was proclaimed as such by the blessed pope John Paul II in the jubilee year 2000 when he canonized Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska, the apostle of the Divine mercy.
Pope John Paul II surely felt a deep devotion for the Divine Mercy and this was only invigorated by the fact that Sr.
Faustina lived in the diocese of Krakow where he was the archbishop before becoming pope.
And, of course, he must have felt very touched by the fact that the Lord had revealed to sister Faustina: “From [Poland] will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for My final coming” (1732).
Pope John Paul II knew therefore that he had a mission to fulfill in making known and available this apostolate of the Divine mercy.
This year it will be 75 years since Saint Maria Faustina passed away at young age and the message the Lord entrusted to this simple, uneducated but courageous religious sister, has been spread all over the world ever since.
The image of the Lord Jesus radiating His love and mercy, with the words “I trust in you” painted on it, is probably the most well known image of Jesus in the whole world.
Thanks God that through the help of pope John Paul and many, many other people this devotion and teh image was spread so much everywhere in the world, because the Lord has promised to sister Faustina: “By means of this Image I shall be granting many graces to souls; so let every soul have access to it”.
The blessed pope John Paul II therefore, enriched this day since 2002 with a plenary indulgence that can be obtained under the usual conditions, i.e.: sacramental confession and holy communion, detachment of sin and a prayer for the intentions of the holy Father, adding an Our Father and the Creed, and a devout prayer in honour of the Divine Mercy.
So, I strongly recommend to you to go to confession and recieve this wonderful grace of God’s forgiveness and mercy.
In fact it is in today’s gospel that we hear how Our Lord instituted the sacrament of confession, saying to His apostles: “Recieve the holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained”.
It was last week eight years ago that pope John Paul II passed away on the eve of Mercy sunday and we commemorate him with love and invoke his intercession.
Today’s gospel is very beautiful and most fitting for this sunday of the Divine mercy since it is a very common human experience that we are told of: the apostles are afraid, they have fear: “... the doors were locked... for fear of the Jews”.
How many times we are tempted and besieged by fear? We have fear for the future, fear for the economic crisis, our jobs, our health, our family, we fear to lose everything, that nobody will take care for us, that we will be lost, that we will lack the necessary things, that we are not good enough, that we will not be admitted in heaven.
In fact, we fear that God doesnot love us with a tender and compassionate love and that we will be left alone....
This is a temptation and the devil is at work there! Fear is maybe the most common existential experience.
It is not without reason that the risen Lord repeats so many times to his apostles: “Be not afraid” and “Peace be with you”.
Someone counted how many times this phrase was expressed in holy Scipture: and he came to the conclusion that it is 365 times repeated there: “Be not afraid”, it is said in the bible once for every day of the year.
In fact, this is what we should put as our motto day after day: be not afraid! Do not have yourself discouraged by Satan! That means that we are invited to have trust.
Through these simple words the Lord says to us: “You cannot really be in danger, You never will be unprotected because I am with you always.
Whatever may happen to you, you are safe, I keep you in my hands and in my heart, I do protect and keep you; peace be with you since I have conquered sin, the world, death and evil”.
That is today’s great invitation: “Come to the fount of mercy.
The graces of my mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only and that is trust”.
We are all tempted to count on our own abilities, our own capacities, our money, our strength, our influence, our friends etcetera.
We try to secure our future through these human means.
But at the same time we know very well that we cannot keep any of these: Our whole live is orientated to the moment in which we have to give up everything.
We cannot keep our money, we cannot keep our health, our strength, we will grow older, our friends will die and at the end of our lives we have to leave behind whatever we possess.
The only thing we can keep till the very last moment of our life on earth is our love and trust in God.
Even our most beloved ones we will have to leave behind, God alone will be there at the end of our life-journey with wide open arms and the only thing you have to do to be saved is to entrust yourself to Him, to throw yourself in His arms, like a child does with his father.
If you will entrust yourself to Him you will recieve the graces of His mercy and you will be saved forever.
So, your trust in His mercy is your way to salvation.
Of course this is not something just for the very last moment of your life; this is something that has to be prepared, day after day.
The “yes” to His mercy that you will speak at the end of your life, is prepared by the thousands of times you say this “yes” to Him during your lifetime.
Do you are afraid for something, for someone? Do you have fear? Entrust yourself to His Divine mercy, find peace in His love and mercy for you.
Try to realize yourself a little bit what it means that He loves you with an infinite love.
If you try to do so, this infinite love of God for you will overflow and run from you to others and the love of Christ will be visible for others and be experienced by them.
In the words of our Saviour to saint Faustina: " I am love and Mercy itself.
When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls".
May the Lord in His mercy grant us this overflowing abundance! Amen