March 30, 2016
Last night, I attended a Young Adult gathering in Miami on the subject of Divine Mercy. In his own way, the Lord has been merciful to me in showing me the Holy Spirit has continued to move in the people to whom I ministered two years ago. So many of the students that were in our small groups and attended our events, are now leaders in campus ministry, and the young adult community here has flourished as well. It is an undeserved gift to see how my offering of time and effort during my ministry here was used and multiplied by God far beyond my human capacity.
During our small group discussions on mercy last night, God revealed something profound to me: because I am aware of the privilege in my life, because I feel that I haven't really gone through that many trials and tribulations (which I believe is a pretty honest assessment), I thought that I didn't really deserve God's mercy. Unknowingly comparing His grace it to exhaustible human resources, I thought that it was selfish to pray for mercy in my life when others need it so much more than me.
I also recognized another misconception I held about mercy: I had always assumed that Divine Mercy was something that got people back to the status quo; it was a rescue from pain, frustration, and loss. When we hit our valleys, mercy would bring us back to level ground. But God’s grace is overflowing; he doesn’t fill our cup, he responds to eagerness for Him with super-abundance so that we can extend His mercy to others. His mercy not only restores us, but also equips us to go forth and act in His name.
Look at today’s Gospel: after the entertaining exchange with Cleopas and his companion on their way to Emmaus, Jesus breaks the Word of God open for them in word (interpreting Scripture) and deed (breaking the bread). What was the disciples’ response? They didn’t speak of how the felt merely comforted or reassured, but rather of how their hearts burned within them! They implored that Jesus stay close to them, and he obliges, first in His earthly form, then he breaks bread with them as a sign of how the Eucharist is Christ “staying with us.” After basking in His presence, the two travelers changed course, sprinted back to Jerusalem, found the Apostles, and gave their testimony.
The response of the men on their way to Emmaus is a wonderful road map for how we ought to respond to Divine Mercy: We should stay near to Christ and receive Him in the Scriptures and the Eucharist. We should seek out community (What up, Frassati Society?!) so much that we are willing to about-face to remain with solid Christians, and we ought to give our testimony as to God’s goodness to us so that others may see and believe.
During our Easter Octave and Divine Mercy Sunday, take the extra time to focus on the Lord's mercy in your life. Thank God for the ways he has healed and equipped you to fulfill your calling, and especially pray for all those who need to know His love and mercy!
Praised be Jesus Christ.