Aankondiging Heilig Jaar in Rome en Barmhartigheidszondag
Divine Mercy feast in Nieuw Vennep
In Rome werd op de avond voor Barmhartigheidszondag het komende buitengewoon Heilig Jaar van de Barmhartigheid officieel aangekondigd door paus Franciscus. In het bisdom Haarlem-Amsterdam werden in Heiloo en in Nieuw-Vennep speciale vieringen gehouden voor Barmhartigheidszondag, in Heiloo met mgr. Jozef Punt, in Nieuw-Vennep was ik aanwezig.
De Engelstalige viering in Nieuw Vennep was het jaarlijks Divine Mercy Feast dat vanuit de Filippijnse gemeenschap wordt georganiseerd. Dit jaar was de Hoofddorpse gemeenschap aan de beurt in samenwerking met het Divine Mercy Apostolate. De viering werd in Nieuw Vennep gehouden omdat die kerk wat meer ruimte biedt aan de vele gelovigen die daarvoor komen.
Om 13.00 uur begon het feest met onder meer aanbidding en biechtgelegenheid, waaraan ikzelf ook als biechtvader heb deelgenomen. Om 15.00 uur volgde een feestelijke Eucharistieviering, opgeluisterd door het koor van de Hoofddorpse gemeenschap. Natuurlijk werd er in de viering ook aandacht besteed aan de afkondiging van het heilig jaar in Rome en het feit dat precies tien jaar eerder de nu heilige paus Johannes Paulus II op de vooravond van het feest van de Barmhartigheid gestorven was.
Dear brothers and sisters,
This year we celebrate this feast of the Divine Mercy
-I would say - with a surplus of joy:
celebrating the first vespers for Divine Mercy Sunday,
Pope Francis formally delivered the "bull of indiction",
which is the official proclamation
of the extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy,
which is scheduled for December 8 of this year
up to November 20 in 2016.
Portions of the document were read
in front of the Holy Door at St. Peter's Basilica.
That door will be opened
at the beginning of the jubilee year.
This prclamation was done yesterday evening
at the first vespers of Mercy Sunday,
because on that evening, now ten years ago,
saint pope John Paul II passed away,
that great apostle of the Divine Mercy,
who instituted the feast
and canonized Sister Faustina.
Commited to Mercy
Yes, our Holy Father pope Francis
proclaimed a Holy Year of Mercy,
which is a joy for all of us!
I think we all know how intense
the Pope’s commitment to Divine Mercy is.
It is expressed in his papal motto,
which he was using already
while he was Archbishop in Buenos Aires:
"Miserando atque eligendo."
This Latin motto means: "Having mercy and choosing, picking".
With these words St. Bede described in one of his works
how Jesus was looking at Matthew the tax collector,
when He decided to choose, to pick and invite Matthew
to follow Him and be His disciple.
This commitment to Divine mercy
is an essential feature of this Pontificate
and the vocation and mission of our Holy Father:
his vocation, his desire, his mission is
to be a missionary of God’s mercy.
That is why he wants good pastoral help
for those who are in a difficult situation
with their marriage;
that is why he wanted to visit first
the victims among the asylum-seekers in Lampedusa;
that’s why he wanted to visit the Philippines
and share the suffering of the Philippine people
because of the terrible typhoon that hit the country;
that’s why he wants to take good care of the poor
around Saint Peter’s,
providing for them haircuts, showers and meals;
and that’s why he gives so many signs
of mercy and tenderness towards those
who are poor, who suffer, are in prison,
to handicapped people
he wants to reach out to those who live far away,
spiritually or physically, in remote areas.
The pope wants to be an outgoing person,
making visible the meekness, compassion and mercy
of Our Lord.
What a good example is this
for everyone of us!
I learned that this commitment has its roots
in pope Francis' vocation to join the Jesuits
that was flowing from a personal experience
of God's mercy in his youth.
"On the feast of St. Matthew in 1953”,
I read somewhere in the internet (CNS) ,
“The young Jorge Mario Bergoglio
- now our pope Francis -
experienced at the age of 17 ...
the loving presence of God in his life.
Following a confession, his heart was touched
and [he] felt the descent of the mercy of God,
that with eyes of tender love,
he was being called to the religious life,
after the example of St. Ignatius of Loyola",
who is the founder of the Jesuits.
A gift of God's mercy
I think we all may have some experience
of God’s mercy.
We know so well
we do not have a right
to be wealthy, healthy and wise,
to be lucky and admired by others;
our faith is not just something
we have managed to build up,
it is not our achievement;
we have no right to have nice, good children;
we don’t earn what was given to us,
it was, it is a gift, a free gift
from the giver of life,
our Lord and God.
Not even our strength and our health
is something of our own.
Everything we possess,
everything we have,
was granted to us,
we owe it to our merciful God.
And maybe we have experienced
the Lord’s gentle touch,
when we noticed He was there
with love and care
and strengthened us .
But why then do people have to suffer,
why is there so much evil in the world?
This remains somehow a mystery to us,
a temptation and a test.
Sure, Scripture teaches us
how evil entered in this world,
that we all live the consequences of original sin
and that Jesus Christ saved us
from the final consequences of sin and evil;
Scripture teaches us
that He gave suffering a new and positive meaning
through His own suffering
and that He invites us to take up our cross
and follow Him.
Pope Benedict XVI was preparing his retirement,
hoping for rest and some peace,
when he was elected as successor of Peter.
He took up the cross of this heavy ministry.
On April 20, 2005,
the day after his election,
Benedict said in his first papal message:
“Dear friends ...
deep gratitude for a gift of Divine Mercy
is uppermost in my heart
in spite of it all.
And I consider it a special grace
which my venerable predecessor, John Paul II,
has obtained for me”.
Hope and trust in God's mercy
Of course there were sufferings in our lives,
of course there were hardships,
there may have been
quite a bit of darkness on our path.
That is the most difficult part of our lives
to deal with.
These hardships make us clear
that we cannot take anything in our lives
for granted, as a right,
as something we are entitled to have.
But if we want to be persons
living with hope and love,
if we do not want to be depressed and down,
but courageously walking forward
to our goal,
to the promised land,
to the kingdom of heaven,
then we need to give testimony
to the signs of hope,
to God’s mercy.
If we want to be good persons, positive,
if we want to be persons of faith and hope,
so let us be missionaries of God’s mercy.
A Christian is a man, is a woman of hope!
Without the Divine mercy we are lost,
thanks to Divine mercy we are saved
and children of God.
The love of the Divine mercy for each of us
will never fade away.
In today’s gospel the risen Lord
wishes peace to His apostles,
He endows them with the power of the holy Spirit
and He sends them out into this world,
like the Father had sent Him.
These words are there for us as well:
we are His disciples,
we belong to Him,
we are His children,
we have received the power of the Holy Spirit
and He sends us out
to work as an apostle in this world,
to bear witness to the risen Lord,
to be a missionary of God’s mercy!