Mercy Is Most Needed – Fr. Viet Nguyen

Fr. Viet Nguyen’s Homily April 19, 2020

“Well the Lord has risen alleluia, alleluia!  Today we celebrate the end of the octave of Easter, but also we celebrate divine mercy, Divine Mercy Sunday and what is mercy?  Oftentimes in our world we hear the word mercy, but do we really know what it means?  We know what justice is, right?  Our world is revolved around justice, to be just and what is justice?  Justice is giving to someone what they deserve, giving to someone what they deserve and our world has always been around that.  When I do this amount of work I get this much pay.  If I order this I should get this.  Really, justice is that, but mercy is something greater.  Mercy is giving to someone more than what they deserve and I think in this time in our lives mercy is most needed and is being shown all around us more now than ever.

In our first reading it talks about the acts of the apostles all being in community, all sharing things together and I think this time in our world, we’re seeing the suffering of the world, but also we’re sharing things more.  We’re being more compassionate.  We’re realizing that we’re not on our own, that we can’t do this on our own and instead of justice, we’re showing mercy because we know we need it.  In all the commercials if you watch TV it’s all saying that we’re all in this together, that we need to help each other.  It’s not saying that if you do this amount of work then you get this or you deserve this, no it’s saying that we all need it.  We all need the mercy of others.  I think we all know deep in our hearts that we need the mercy of God, but the thing is, are we willing to accept it.  Are we willing to accept the mercy of God?

In our second reading, our second reading talks about our hope in our faith in the resurrection and that’s what we’re celebrating now in this Easter time is this great hope and this great glory of the resurrection, but in the reading it talks about how you will go through troubling times and aren’t we going through that now?  But just as much as in times of adversity we build character, in times of trouble and turmoil in our life if we’re willing to accept it, our faith continues to grow.  It gives us this image of a metal like gold.  He says our faith is like gold, a precious metal and a fiery furnace and what happens when you have a precious metal and you burn it down?  The impurities come up.  When you put a precious metal and you test it with great fire, great pressure, the impurities come up and you can scrape it away until it appears as precious gold and that’s our faith.  Christ always told us that there is times in our life when we’ll have adversity that troubles will come that storms will come and in some ways we have to die to ourselves and if we’re willing to accept that, you will have the hope of the resurrection to hold on to.  In this time in our lives we are going through a turmoil.  In some ways our faith is being tested, tested by fire.  Most of us realize we can’t do it on our own, but are we willing to accept our humility, to humble ourselves that we can’t do it on our own.  I realize that nothing in our life is in our control.  We always thought that more things in our life was in our control, but the veil is being removed isn’t it?  If we wanted a latte, we would just go and get it.  If we wanted to go out for a movie we would just go.  We realize that things aren’t really that much in our control.  Now we are closed in, in our houses and in some ways the impurities are coming up.  Things that we don’t like about ourselves, things that we never wanted to think about, they are coming up.  We are being tried, but the thing about mercy is that we all long for it, but are we willing to accept it?  And that’s where we have to acknowledge the humility and the pain that we don’t deserve it.

In the Gospel, the Gospel is the image of the upper room.  They’re locked up in the upper room and they’re fearful.  They locked themselves in the upper room because of their fear of the Jews, but Christ comes before them and what does he say?  The first thing he says is ‘peace be with you’ but he doesn’t come through the door like we would expect, but he appears before them and says, ‘Peace be with you.’  We are locked in our houses, but also sometimes we are locked in our own hearts and the Lord is wanting to appear before you and what he says is, ‘Peace be with you.’  The reason for that is because he knows the fear and anxieties of our own lives, but are we willing to accept it?  Sometimes we need to feel the wounds of Christ, our very own wounds like Thomas and that’s okay, but it is the great hope of the resurrection that we long for, that we hope for.  So as you go into your own inner room where the Holy Spirit dwells within you, continue to ask the Lord for the strength and the courage to bring up those impurities within our own hearts, the things we don’t like about ourselves to acknowledge it, to humbly bring it before him and then ask him, ask him to hearl it so that we can see the glory and the resurrection in our own lives and see and receive the mercy of God.  Amen.”