Divine Mercy Feast 2021
Celebration in the Cathedral church
In the cathedral church in Haarlem a Divine Mercy feast was celebrated, which still can be watched on ‘Kathedraal TV’, organized by the Divine Mercy Apostolate Holland. After half an Hour of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament the Pontifical holy Mass started, during which I delivered the sermon you find here below.
Fr. Rubben Torres concelebrated after having been the celebrant of the adoration with Divine Mercy chapelet. Many were connected through live-stream, the devotees present in the cathedral gave expressing to this festive occasion through their red and white clothing and they brought their images of the Divine Mercy that were blessed at the beginning of Holy Mass.
He will not drop you!
What do you need?
It is rather normal and generally accepted that about many things we think we need them: I need a new car, I need a dishwasher, a new television, I need a new dress, a suit, I need a holiday etcetera. We are used to think and speak about many, many things in terms of needing them, as necessities of life. Could you even imagine not being able to take a shower for instance? But at the same time it is not so hard to realize ourselves that the majority of the world’s population is lacking those things, though we do really think we need them! Our car, our computer, radio, television, though due to the pandemic we are cut off from some of those things we thought of as necessities of life, like celebrations and holyday-trips.
Living with less?
But still we can hardly imagine living without many of those things or living without them for the rest of our lives, but I visited once a hut, a cabin in an African country where an entire family lived and they had no possessions whatsoever, except for a few clothes and a plastic jerry-can to get some water in from a central tap in the village. And they are human beings just like we are! But this family lived there and even seemed to be happy.
One could therefore live without many of the items we are inclined to think we really need. Of course, living in a prosperous country like ours, being used to so many things, makes it much more difficult to imagine a life without them.
Difficult to see
But being in possession of so many things makes it at the other hand much more difficult to see clearly what we really need, what really cannot be missed.
Material objects grant us a certain standing, a status; our importance seems to increase through the objects we possess. But in fact, this is not true; we don’t become more important by owning a big car or a brand-new suit or dress or a holiday in a five stars resort at the other end of the globe. All these material possessions easily blur and obscure a clear view of what is really needed and what is most important.
What we really need
It is often only in a situation of loss that we realize what is really important. If a beloved and dear one passes away you will feel very strongly that material objects, feasts and trips lose their significance. And in the moment we ourselves are about to leave this world and to die, we will feel - if we have sufficient background - what is really important, what is really needed.
Because, what we really need is the mercy of Our Lord and Saviour.
In fact, this is one of the most important facts of human life: we all need the mercy of the Lord! We are and will be happy through the mercy of the Lord, without this mercy and without trust in His mercy at the end we will not be happy!
In need of mercy
Realizing yourself that you are in need of the mercy of the Lord means: looking at yourself with humility; becoming aware of being poor, a sinner, a beggar for love and mercy, for pardon. We do not control our destiny, we can not grant ourselves one second of breath and life. It is not in our hands. And does a person who takes his own life, controls his destiny? I don’t think so. Life, love and happiness is beyond human control, we only can receive it by opening our hands and hearts and be prepared to receive the gifts of God’s mercy..
And this does not make you sad, at least it shouldn’t, on the contrary: it should make you realize more and more the wonders of God’s mercy: how great His love for me, a sinner, that He came down to earth, that He lived a simple human life, that He sacrificed Himself on the cross out of love for us, that He rose from the death for us.
Especially in these pandemic times you may have felt lonely, the restrictions that were imposed upon you, may have been difficult. And of course there have been and will be other heavy periods in your life, with suffering and pain. We cannot have it all according to our likes. But we are not alone; we are invited to live consciously in the presence of the Lord.
Maybe sometimes we feel a distance from God and the church because we do not comply with the requirements of the Gospel, God’s commandments or the commandments of the Church. But never forget the first and most important requirement we have to meet is humility. Realize yourself that you are a simple creature, totally depending on the mercy of the Lord. Be humble. The Lord in His mercy, will never drop you. Trust in His mercy.
In today’s gospel we have met Saint Thomas. He did not believe. Unless he would be invited to check on His body the wounds caused by His passion and death, Thomas would not believe. That was what he said in his stubbornness. But the Lord did not drop him. On the contrary, He came back to the disciples just for Thomas, to help Thomas to come to faith.
That is what the Lord is doing to us: He is accompanying us with patient love, looking for opportunities to help us to come to faith. Do not feel rejected if your life is not perfect, if you have sinned, if you have problems you can’t resolve. The Lord in his mercy is just inviting you to take a step, out of love. He is understanding and merciful, He is fully aware of your situation, He knows you better than anyone else and He is looking upon you with love and understanding, He is merciful.