Divine Mercy feast in Zaandam
In een volle Sint Joseph kerk in Zaandam heb ik de Zondag van de Goddelijke Barmhartigheid mogen vieren met de Filippijnse gemeenschap en heel wat Nederlanders. De viering begon rond 13.00 uur met uitstelling en biechtgelegenheid, waarvan zeer velen gebruikt maakten. Natuurlijk werd bijzonder de nieuwe heilige paus Johannes Paulus II herdacht.
Na de heilige Mis die om 15.00 uur begon, was er buiten de kerk een feestelijke buffet aangericht en bleven alle aanwezigen nog lang met elkaar praten. Gelukkig was het buiten na de Mis weer helemaal droog!
Hieronder de preek bij deze gelegenheid gehouden.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today is a very special day.
The great apostle of the Divine Mercy
that pope John Paul II was,
was canonized this morning:
saint John Paul II!
When he was elected as our Holy Father,
he started to tell us:
“Be not afraid”,
words that are so many times
repeated by Jesus in the gospel.
Have trust in God’s mercy, be not afraid!
In this Holy Mass
we celebrate John Paul II
as a new saint of the Catholic Church
and we remember with gratefulness
what he has done to spread the faith,
to bring people to Jesus Christ
and to teach them about Divine mercy.
We know that pope John Paul II,
who was an archbishop of Cracow in Poland,
where sister Faustina lived,
came to know and appreciate the Divine mercy message
already in an early stage,
at a time when ‘Rome’ was still hesitating
and rather reluctant to accept
Sister Faustina’s mission.
When cardinal Karol Woltyla became pope John Paul
many things changed:
sister Faustina was beatified and canonized,
this 2nd Sunday of Easter was dedicated
to the celebration of Divine Mercy
and a beautiful shrine was built in Krakow
and very close to Saint Peter’s in Rome
in the church of Santo Spirito in Sassia,
a shrine was opened
dedicated both to the Divine Mercy and saint John Paul II.
Today therefore is a day of thanksgiving and trust,
because we can see clearly
that the Lord has His own plan.
In His providence
He took care that at His time
the archbishop of Cracow in Poland
became the shepherd of the universal church
and would become apostle of the Divine mercy.
Saint John Paul
accomplished his great mission
giving back his soul to God in 2005,
on the eve of the Divine Mercy Sunday
just after the beginning
of it’s liturgical celebration.
Then Pope John Paul went to experience and celebrate
the Divine mercy in heaven.
Today we thank God
for the life of this great pope,
who was a clear sign
that God’s Divine Mercy
did not abandon His church.
Thank you, o Lord!
In the life of the Polish pope
there are many wonderful
and even wondrous, miraculous events,
where we all could notice the hand of God,
even in many moments of great suffering.
The attack on his life by Ali Agca for example,
happened in 1981 on the 13th of May,
day of the first apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima;
it was followed by a long period of operations and recovery,
which for Pope John Paul became a time
in which he experienced
the special protection of his heavenly Mother,
whom he went to give thanks in Fatima a year later.
A few years later only
communism came to its end
in Russia and the surrounding countries.
In all this, and in many other events,
saint John Paul II clearly saw the hand of God,
His providence, His mercy.
That was already the profoundest experience of his life,
when he lost both his parents and his brother at a young age.
There he was, all alone, but he was not alone;
He knew and experienced that God was with him,
that the Lord did not abandon him,
in spite of the many crosses he had to carry.
Isn’t this more or less the central experience
of the apostles in today’s gospel as well?
They were afraid,
they feared the Jews and Roman soldiers
who crucified their Lord and Master.
They kept the doors closed and stayed together.
But the Lord came in,
notwithstanding those barred doors,
and He said to them:
“Peace be with you”
and He urged them to go out
and leave their fear and incredulity behind.
That is what the Lord is saying to each of us.
Many times in our lives we experience difficulties,
temptations and suffering.
How many times
people all over the world
have no idea how to continue,
because they just see darkness
all around them:
the darkness of their own weaknesses and sins,
the darkness of losing their jobs,
of suffering illnesses or disasters,
the darkness of a super-typhoon destroying all you have,
the darkness of being left without financial means
and seeing no solution.
How do you gain strength in such a situation,
how do you survive?
At the end, we cannot rely upon our own skills and strength.
We are limited, simple people,
passengers on this earth.
But we all have one hope, one strength,
one Creator, one heavenly Father.
Therefore: Never live a difficulty that occurs in your life
without meeting with the Lord,
entrust yourself, your suffering,
your difficulties, your worries to Him
and trust that He will never leave you alone,
that He will not abandon you.
Where there is trust,
the difficulties the suffering
become a share in the Lord’s passion,
so full of redemptive power.
I noticed it many times:
The Lord opens a new horizon for us
when we trust in His mercy.
If we do not trust in Him,
if we are just locked up in ourselves,
we will be miserable and full of fear.
If we open up and go out,
we will meet God´s mercy
and we will be able to see
that where the Lord
may have closed a door or a window,
He opens a shutter.
Be not afraid, have trust in God’s mercy!