Reflection by Holly Novotny
Today’s Gospel: John 20:19-31 – Divine Mercy Sunday
We can all remember a time when a lack of forgiveness felt more a burden to us than to the one who inflicted hurt upon us. The freedom we experience when we truly forgive another is just one aspect of mercy. The side we often don’t consider is the power we have, through the wounds of the cross, to restore the offending person to Christ. In giving peace, extending mercy to another, we proclaim their identity as one of God’s beloved children, one for whom Christ bore His wounds and the Crucifixion to save. A week ago, we heard Him cry out to the Father from the cross, “Forgive them, they know not what they do.” Today, we encounter Jesus, who breathes His mercy and peace on His beloved friends – who had abandoned Him in His Passion – sharing the Holy Spirit with them, that they now can be sent to carry out His mission.
Forgiveness is not limited to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, though the sacrament has particular power to restore us in grace. We can help restore a person to their true identity, but we prevent that restoration when we hold onto the wounds inflicted by them. Jesus shows us through His own wounds, that when we desire the salvation of the world and eternity with the Father, we can embrace our brothers and sisters who abandon or hurt us. We offer mercy and breathe out peace upon them, reminding them of their own dignity, praying that they, too, may cry out with recognition that Jesus is “my Lord and my God!”
How have I experienced my identity as God’s own beloved one through being forgiven? What can I do to offer mercy to someone who really needs to be reminded of his/her dignity as a child of God?
Lord, help me to believe without seeing You, without demanding to put my finger into your Divine Wounds. Give me the grace to experience your peace today, that I would be open to receive your Holy Spirit and share your mercy with others.
Copyright 2019 Holly Novotny
Holly Novotny is a wife and mother of two teenage daughters. The Lord’s mercy and grace radically changed her life as a young adult and she is grateful for His continual transformation of her heart and life. She is a Lifetime Marian Servant of Divine Providence and as a graduate of the Cenacle School of Spirituality offers spiritual direction in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Receive CatholicMom.com newsletters in your inbox, including the Daily Gospel Reflection each morning!
* indicates required