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Hope for sinners

An SVD missionary in one of the Pacific Islands related how surprised he was one day to be visited in his parish by a woman carrying a handful of sand. “Do you know what this is?” she asked. “It looks like sand,” replied the missionary. “What does this all mean?”

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“Well, these are my sins,” the woman explained, “they are as countless as the sands of the sea. How can I ever obtain forgiveness for all of them?

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“Woman,” said the missionary, “take it back and pile up a heaping mound of sand. Then sit back and watch the waves come in and wash the pile slowly, surely, and completely away.

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“That is how God’s forgiveness works. His mercy is as big as the ocean. Be truly sorry and the Lord will undoubtedly forgive you.”

Somebody said further that God takes away all our sins in confession and throws them into the depths of the sea. Heputs a sign on the shore which reads, “No Fishing!”

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Today, the Second Sunday of Easter, is Divine Mercy Sunday.

Sister Faustina Kowalska was declared a saint on April 30, 2000 by Pope John Paul II, who was canonized a saint together with Pope John XXIII on April 14, 2014 . The Lord appeared to Faustina several times, declaring this extremely simple message: the Heart of Jesus is overflowing with divine mercy toward sinners and wants all to come to him with trust-filled love.

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This invitation is powerfully expressed in the classic painting of the Risen Christ, which an artist accomplished under the guidance of Sr. Faustina who in 1931 had seen with red and pale rays of light emanating from Jesus’ chest.

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Jesus himself had instructed Sr. Faustina to have the sentence “JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU” written at the bottom of that painting.

This sentence expresses the mercy that brought God’s Son to give his life on the cross for all sinners.

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This is also the same mercy that led the Risen Christ to go in search of his disciples after he rose from death, to reassure them of his forgiving love.

This he did with Peter and Thomas the doubter in today’s gospel.

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We live in an increasingly secularized world that ignores God and engenders violence, hatred, wars, drug abuse, sexual epidemics like AIDS, and legalized abortion.

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PRACTICE: forgiveness by availing of the Sacraments of Confession and the Holy Eucharist. Also, show gratitude to God for his mercy by doing acts of charity and forgiving your enemies.

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Lest we forget, God’s infinite mercy should not be a license for abuse. “Since God is good and mer-ciful,” one might say, “I can go on committing sin then confess afterwards.”

Surely, that’s a wrong attitude.

God sees the human heart and knows if we are sincere or not.

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. Doctor: “Why did you slap the guy you were talking with?” The angry man replied: “Imagine, he saw me very nervous about the result of my AIDS test and he still said… THINK POSITIVE!” (He was just trying to help).

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“If you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns.” (Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD)

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