Divine Mercy Sunday is a recent gift. St. Faustina Kowalska (canonized in 2000) promoted devotion to the mercy of God, inspiring Pope John Paul II to set the Second Sunday of Easter apart as a worldwide day of mercy. And of course no Gospel story is more filled with mercy than that of Jesus inviting a broken-hearted Thomas to touch his wounds, so to be healed of his own great wound of grief.
Mercy probably looks different to each of us. Two moments come to mind for me. In the first, I’m presenting my high school report card to my dad, and that D in Algebra just jumps off the page. This will in fact be the last day of my life. I brace. And then, mercy. He laughs, and love compels him to let me in on a secret I would otherwise never have known.
Listen, Kathy, that’s no big deal. I got a D in Algebra too.
Did you feel that? That was mercy.
The second is a story from my husband Ben’s miserable fourth grade school year in El Paso. His collar bone broken in a fight with the school bully, he struggled to find a seat on the school bus. When the prettiest and nicest girl in the fourth grade moved over and gave him the seat next to her she said to him, Guess who likes you? And he thought, I’m the loser new kid who just got hurt in a fight. Nobody likes me. But this most darling, wonderful girl said, Me. I like you.
And just as the Father sent her on to that school bus that day, so he sends you.
To whom will you extend mercy this week?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).