Preacher’s Sketchbook: Sunday of Divine Mercy
April 21, 2014
Each week, a Dominican member of the Province of St. Joseph’s Preaching Advisory Board prepares this Preacher’s Sketchbook in anticipation of the upcoming Sunday Mass. The idea of the Preacher’s Sketchbook is to take quotations from the authority of the Church–the Pope, the Fathers of the Church, documents of the Councils, the saints–that can help spark ideas for the Sunday homily. Just as an artist’s sketchbook preserves ideas for later elaboration, so we hope the Preacher’s Sketchbook will provide some ideas for homiletical elaboration.
Blessed John Henry Newman
Those whose faith Jesus praised had no stronger evidence than those whose unbelief he condemned; but they had used their eyes, used their reason, exerted their minds, and persevered in inquiry till they found; while the others, whose unbelief he condemned, had heard indeed, but had let the divine seed lie by the roadside, or in the rocky soil, or among the thorns which choked it. And here I am led to say what is the fault of the holy Apostle Saint Thomas. He said that he would not believe that our Lord had risen, unless he actually saw him. What! Is there not more than one way of arriving at faith in Christ? Are there not a hundred proofs, distinct from each other, and all good ones?… But Saint Thomas prescribed the only mode in which he would consent to believe in him…. His fault lay in thinking he had a right to be fastidious, and to pick and choose by what arguments he would be convinced, instead of asking himself whether he had not enough to convince him already.
Saint Thomas Aquinas
God is merciful. He works about his justice, not against it. When you give two hundred pieces from your own money to a man who is owed one hundred by another, you are acting not against justice for from liberality and mercy. So it is when you forgive an injury, for forgiveness is like giving a present: bestow on one another even as Christ has pardoned you. Mercy is the fulfillment of justice, not the abolition: mercy rejoices against judgment.
Saint Thomas Aquinas
The quality of mercy consists in bringing a thing out of non-being into being. The work of mercy is to remove any kind of defect. Mercy lays the first foundation for all good things.
Saint John Paul II
Mercy is in a certain sense contrasted with God’s justice, and in many cases is shown to be not only more powerful than that justice but also more profound. Although justice is an authentic virtue in man, and in God signifies transcendent perfection, nevertheless love is “greater” than justice: greater in the sense that it is primary and fundamental. Love, so to speak, conditions justice and, in the final analysis, justice serves love. The primacy and superiority of love vis-à-vis justice are revealed precisely through mercy…. Mercy differs from justice, but is not in opposition to it…. True mercy is, so to speak, the most profound source of justice. If justice is in itself suitable for “arbitration” between people concerning the reciprocal distribution of objective goods in an equitable manner, love and only love (including that kindly love that we call “mercy”) is capable of restoring man to Himself.
I have cast the anchor of my trust deep down into the abyss of your mercy, O my God and Creator! In spite of my great misery I fear nothing, but hope to sing you a hymn of glory for ever. Let no soul, even the most miserable, fall prey to doubt; for, as long as one is alive, each one can become a great saint, so great is the power of God’s grace. It remains only for us not to oppose God’s action. Jesus, when I look at the world and its indifference towards you, again and again it brings tears to my eyes.
I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord”. The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace.” How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.
Servant of God Luigi Giussani
It is now our turn to make mercy our self, acting from within this mercy, failing which we shall betray our deepest nature. I am no longer I; my name is the name of Christ who is mercy. The only true balance is the balance of this identity. It is the balance of John the Apostle when he rested his head on the shoulder of Christ. It does not matter what level of perfection you reach. What others think or don’t think of how much you do does not matter, nor does your judgment of yourself. All that matters is that mercy has taken you for ever, from the very origin of your existence. Mercy called to you, because mercy loved you. Holiness means always affirming—before everything else, in everything else—the embrace of the Father, the merciful, pitying movement of Christ.
Sunday Preacher’s Resource
Additional Preaching Resources
- The USCCB: Easter Resources
- The Holy See: Easter
- Fr. Thomas Rosica (Salt and Light Media)
- The Torch
- Fr. Francis Martin Website
- Biblius Clerus, a resource of the Congregation for the Clergy
- The Catena Aurea of St. Thomas Aquinas, O.P., for the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
Image: Koloman Moser, Our Lady of Mercy, Am Steinhof Church