This Divine Mercy Sunday, let's dare to do things differently
A reflection for Divine Mercy Sunday, Year A
by Gillian Kantor
Sometimes, in my parenting, I will say or do something that seems entirely prophetic – like when my three-year-old daughter insisted on taking her backpack overflowing with books into the grocery store and I said please don’t take that because you’re going to get tired of carrying it and there won’t be room in the cart. Guess who got tired of carrying it, and guess which Mom ended up slugging it over her arm for the duration of the shopping trip? Then there was the time all six of my kids were riding bean bag chairs down the basement stairs and I yelled, “Someone is going to get hurt!” right before the game ended in – surprise! – big tears.
My ability to see into the future is uncanny.
And now – will you allow me to use my parenting examples to boldly compare myself to God? Thank you! – we turn to God who, in his divine parenting and omnipotent wisdom, can speak reassurance to us about our present day world situation through words written 2,000 years ago. This is not only prophetic – this is mercy.
Today, on Divine Mercy Sunday, we have – prophetically, mercifully – two readings written for a self-isolating world amid the COVID-19 pandemic. First, in the Acts of Apostles, comes this:
“Day by day, as they spent time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the good will of all the people. And day by day, the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”
Right now, the world is at home. As we break bread within our own walls, waving from afar to our neighbours, we are putting the good will of others before our own needs in order to prevent a hungry and merciless disease from spreading. Day by day, in our doing this, numbers will be saved.
Then in 1 Peter, our world’s reality is acknowledged and our faith given purpose with the words:
“In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you had to suffer various trials.”
I look at these readings through tears. How did the world get here, to this place of suffering, illness, and isolation? And how did God know we would be here and need these words today?
Really, as I give my head a shake, how could our Creator not know, he who made the world and all within it? But this reminder, that his hand is in all of this, shakes us out of spiritual lethargy and, in communion with his apostles, places us on a mission. Our assignment may look different than that of the apostles, for ours is not to go out and forgive sins, but to stay home and stay safe.
A mission to stay home? That seems an anomaly and certainly not very adventurous. But it is, in fact, a great adventure, as we dare to do things differently – dare to be better parents; dare to be more intentional with our time; dare to help others; dare to sit and think rather than do and tell; dare to put others first; and dare to live a balanced and well-ordered life. These are all daring things.
And, I’m happy to consider, these are all Catholic things. Teachings on respect for life, family first, intentionality in vocations, loving our neighbours, and exercising mercy are all being preached by our world leaders and are coming to life in a global movement.
The apostles were called to live and preach the good news of the Lord, to make his grace and mercy known. And so are we, in this slow conversion of the entire world. This is what was written – prophetically, mercifully – 2,000 years ago.
The readings for Divine Mercy Sunday (Second of Easter), Year A, are
1 Peter 1:3-9
Gillian Kantor is a stay-at-home wife, mother, and writer. She produced the Salt + Light TV program,
Mothering, Full of Grace, and wrote the script for the original documentary,
A Woman’s Voice.