Project Description




Divine Mercy Sunday

Acts 4:32-35 / 1 John 5:1-6 / John 20:19-31

 

Happy Divine Mercy Sunday.

 

What is the greatest attribute of God?. . .

 

It’s mercy!!!

 

The greatest attribute of God is mercy!!!

 

That’s what Jesus revealed to St. Faustina.

 

That’s what St. Thomas wrote.

 

That’s what the Church has always held.

 

The greatest attribute of God. . . is mercy.

 

One of my favorite definitions of God

comes from Thomas Merton.

 

In the opening section of his book The Sign of Jonas

Merton identifies with Jonah. . .

the reluctant prophet. . .

 

the Prophet who when God said go East and

preach mercy to mean and nasty Assyrians. . .

 

Jonah headed West. . .

as far away from this mercy stuff as he could go.

 

And in this reflection in The Sign of Jonas,

God addresses Merton. . .

 

“Have you lost sight of Me . . . My child?”

 

“[have you lost sight that I am]

Mercy within mercy within mercy.”

 

God is: “Mercy within mercy within mercy.”

 

You know,

if we look at the history of religion. . .

it’s just not so obvious that this is the case. . .

 

it’s not so obvious that the

greatest attribute of God is mercy. . .

 

it’s not so obvious that God is

mercy within mercy within mercy.

 

Think about it. . .

 

It’s a pretty big stretch to go from Aristotle’s

notion of God as the unmoved mover. . .

 

that God is the first principle of everything. . .

 

to saying that God is mercy within mercy within mercy.

 

And it’s a pretty big stretch to say

that God’s greatest attribute is mercy

if you look at the gods that Canaanites worshiped. . .

 

the storm gods and the fertility gods. . .

 

the gods who had to be appeased. . .

or they would bring disaster down on

their subjects.

 

It wasn’t until the God of Israelites. . .

the One true God. . .

that it was revealed that God was a personal God. . .

 

that God cared deeply for humanity and

wanted to be in a loving relationship with humanity. . .

 

that God is a God of love and mercy.

 

Psalm 145 proclaims

 

The LORD is gracious and merciful,

slow to anger and rich in mercy.      (145:8-9)

 

But sometimes,

even when reading the Old Testament. . .

 

if someone doesn’t know how

to interpret it properly. . .

 

or doesn’t read it in

the context of the revelation of the whole Bible. . .

 

then it’s not so obvious that the

greatest attribute of God is mercy.

 

I’ve used this quote before

from the atheist

Richard Dawkins,

who after reading the Old Testament

makes the assertion that:

 

“The God of the Old Testament is

arguably the most unpleasant character

in all fiction:

 

jealous and proud of it;

a petty,

unjust,

unforgiving control-freak!!!”

 

So apparently—

to some at least,

it’s just not so obvious that the

God of the Old Testament is

Mercy within mercy within mercy???

 

It’s not so obvious either

when one observes some of the followers of religion. . .

 

when the name of God

is at times associated with vengeance

and hate and violence.

 

Sometimes God believers just don’t act too merciful!!!

 

Including us Christians. . .

Remember Mahatma Gandhi’s words about us Christians:

“I like your Christ, but not your Christianity.”

In the history of religion,

I think it’s only when

we see God as revealed in God incarnate. . .

 

God revealed in Jesus. . .

 

that it becomes obvious. . .

that God is mercy within mercy within mercy.

 

And what is mercy anyway?

 

I like this dictionary definition:

 

Mercy is compassion or forgiveness

shown to someone

whom it is within one’s power

to punish or harm.

 

That’s Jesus!!!

 

That’s Jesus!!!

 

Mercy is compassion or forgiveness

shown to someone

whom it is within one’s power

to punish or harm.

 

Of course,

we see it primarily

with Jesus on the Cross. . .

 

where God shows compassion towards us

and our wayward ways. . .

 

by restoring justice to the cosmos

by taking on our sins. . .

 

when it would be well within

God’s power and right to punish. . .

 

The greatest attribute of God is mercy.

 

While on the Cross,

Jesus is the icon of Mercy!!!

 

What does Jesus pray

to God the Father about the

those torturing Him. . .

 

those crowning him with thorns. . .

 

those driving in the nails. . .

 

“Father, forgive them,

they don’t know what they doing!!!”

 

God is mercy within mercy within mercy!!!

 

Jesus prays that prayer for us too!!!

 

“Father, forgive them,

they don’t know what they doing!!!”

 

But it’s not just at the Crucifixion. . .

 

To the woman caught in adultery?. . .

 

All of those men standing around condemning her?. . .

 

Jesus turns the tables on the unmerciful. . .

 

“Let you without sin cast the first stone!!!”

 

They all walk away!!!

 

And Jesus says. . .

“Woman, where are they?

Has no one condemned you?”

 

She replied,

“No one, sir.”

 

Then Jesus said,

“Neither do I condemn you.

Go, [and] from now on do not sin anymore.”

 

God is mercy within mercy within mercy!!!

 

And to Peter,

Jesus says

“Upon this rock I will build my church!!!”

 

And how does Peter pay him back?

 

He denies Jesus three times. . .

Abandons him.

 

Jesus’s response?

 

The God of second chances. . .

 

“Peter, do you love me?

Feed my sheep!!!”

 

God is mercy within mercy within mercy.

 

And today’s Gospel,

 

Jesus appears to all the apostles. . .

 

Just about all of them cowards and deserts Him.

 

Jesus’ response,

 

“Peace, be with you!!!”

 

And then in something that could

only come from a God

that is mercy within mercy within mercy. . .

 

Jesus gives them to power to forgive sins. . .

 

The sacrament of reconciliation.

 

God’s greatest attribute is mercy!!!

 

I want to close with another great quote

from Thomas Merton about God’s Mercy:

 

He wrote this in The Seven Storey Mountain:

 

It is only the infinite mercy

and love of God

that has prevented us

from tearing ourselves to pieces and

destroying His entire creation long ago.

 

People seem to think that it is

in some way a proof that no merciful God exists,

if we have so many wars.

 

On the contrary,

consider how in spite of centuries of

sin and greed

and lust and cruelty

and hatred and avarice

and oppression and injustice,

spawned and bred by the free wills of men,

 

the human race can still recover,

each time,

and can still produce men and women

who overcome evil with good,

hatred with love,

greed with charity,

lust and cruelty with sanctity.

 

How could all this be possible

without the merciful love of God,

pouring out His grace upon us?

 

So Brothers and Sisters in Christ. . .

 

Realize God’s Mercy!!!. . .

 

Experience God’s mercy!!!. . .

 

Savory God’s mercy!!!

 

God is mercy within mercy with mercy.

 

And as the merciful God pours out his grace upon us. . .

 

Let us be the ones in the world. . .

 

who overcome evil with good,

 

hatred with love. . .

 

greed with charity. . .

 

lust and cruelty with sanctity.

 

Holy Spirit 04/10-11/2021