“Divine Mercy” & the Virus

I bought some sweaters at Goodwill wondering about the previous owners. They looked good to me. Prior guy got bored, bought something better, or did he pass away?

Secondhand is what stores like Goodwill sell. They sell you something that was previously sold to someone else. That poor sweater of mine could have had how many other wearers. And more to come when I turn it back in once I see a nicer sweater.

“Divine Mercy” is this second Sunday of Easter. There is no doubt in our minds, this very day and this very hour that this worldwide virus is anything but secondhand. Invisibly infiltrating mouths, noses, and then deep down inside the lungs.

St. Peter hits the right nail, as they say, as he told us today, “…although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for the praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Apply that reading to today’s pandemic and you may have your doubts about this loving, merciful Creator we adore. Like Thomas’ adjective to his name, how many of us can add “Doubting” before our names. We clearly know that God did not cause this terrible plague upon us. But “like gold tested in fire,” it is our unwavering trust in God that will see us through this crisis.

I mentioned secondhand before as though it’s secondary. This virus is passed from person to person. Secondary suddenly becomes primary. That’s why I’m talking to an empty church but hopefully lifting any empty spirits through our virtual Eucharist. This virus proves there is nothing virtual in our relationships – both in disease and in fellowship.

The reading from Acts is the ideal we all strive to attain. “All who believed were together and had all things in common…they devoted themselves to meeting together..and to breaking bread in their homes.”

That is the Divine Mercy in both disease and fellowship. The psalm today said, “I was hard-pressed and was falling.” It’s not easy being separated from family, friends, faith community. We love our homes but give us a break! “But the Lord helped me. My strength and my courage is in the Lord, and he has been my savior.” This becomes an internal joy, as the psalm continues. “The joyful shout of victory in the tents of the just.” The joy of this day while so many needlessly die. The fragility of this human life stares us right through our masks and gloves.

Optimists say that we’ll become a better world, more united. I disagree. We’ll slowly return to our old habits. If that weren’t the case then I’d be out of a job!

“Divine Mercy Sunday,” this day is called. May this virus remind us that every day is celebrating, honoring, and claiming Divine Mercy. We earnestly pray daily for those we love, those who became or will become a number among many in the newspaper and Divine Mercy for ourselves.

On second thought, there is absolutely no doubt before my name and I sincerely hope the same for all of you.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. Six books on Amazon.com.
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