Sunday, April 23, 2006

Divine Mercy Sunday

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday, proclaimed by Pope John Paul II in the year 2000. Before that it had the banal name Second Sunday of Easter, and before the reforms of Vatican II, Low Sunday.

God is both just and merciful. But it is a modern inversion that we seem to remember only the Divine Mercy before sin, and God's Justice after sin. So we feel free to commit sin, but then we are wracked with guilt afterwards, or even dispair of forgiveness.

This inversion has consequences. A liberal-minded person, obsessing over God's Justice, especially in a Jansenistic environment, may fall into "Catholic guilt", and may leave the Church, only to suffer, perhaps, from the secular "white liberal guilt". A conservative, repulsed by feel-good liturgies that are inclusive in all ways but in the recongnition of sin, may also leave the Church, hoping to find a Protestant congregation that hasn't fallen into the Modernist heresy.

The correct view is that we need to consider God's Justice to avoid falling into sin; but if we do, we can rely on the Divine Mercy for forgiveness.

The Divine Mercy is in some ways the liturgical fulfilment of the ancient Jewish Day of Atonement, where all sins against God were forgiven by the unsual rite of the scapegoat.

No comments:

Post a Comment