Who, me? Sharing God’s Mercy

On a scale of 1-5, how much mercy from God the Father have you received during your life?  Here’s a description of the scale:

1 – I haven’t experienced much love from God.

2 – God has helped me during life.

3 – I’ve had moments in which I’ve received special gifts from God.

4 – God has been amazingly merciful towards me.

5 – God’s mercy radically changed my life.

This is a prayerful self-reflection, and it helps us understand how we perceive God the Father and then how we can share His mercy with others—it’s on this that we’re meditating today!  When I was a child, I used to be a one.  When I was 13 and heard about Jesus, I started seeing how He helped me, and then responded.  Later, I started feeling very blessed by Him, and so I responded more, and then His mercy changed my life during Confession.  So, there’s a progression all according to God’s timing, along with our openness, just as we discussed on Easter Sunday: We’re all offered Easter joy at a certain time.

Have you chosen a number?  Now, if you’re willing to share, could I ask for a show of hands?  I’m not going to ask about one or two, because, even though there’s nothing wrong with a one or two, I don’t want you to feel self-conscious.  So, who would say they’re a three?  What about four?  What about five?

God the Father wants us all to experience His love and then share it!  Following up last week’s homily on God’s perfect mercy, we see today in the Gospel how He asks us to share His mercy.  “The two disciples told the eleven [apostles] and their companions what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread” (Lk 24:35).  This is one of the most important post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus: The two disciples are totally dejected that Jesus had died.  But He literally walks beside them and explains why He had to suffer and die, and then rise.  They only recognize Him ‘in the breaking of the bread,’ the Mass.  The text said that their “hearts were burning” (Lk 24:32), and so they turn back to Jerusalem and share this great news!  “While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you’” (Lk 24:36).  I’ve mentioned before that Bishop Daniel Mueggenborg points out that Jesus appears when His disciples speak about Him.  When we speak about Jesus’ mercy, He becomes present to us.  These two disciples had a level-5 experience of God’s mercy, and had to share that with others!

However, the disciples need reassurance that Jesus is real: “They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost”(24:37).  This is why Jesus eats food, to emphasize that He has a real body and that it’s the same body that was crucified.  The Resurrection of Jesus is a real historical fact.  In the same way, the mercy we’ve received hasn’t been a fluke; there’s no such thing as an accident.  It’s real, a fact, and must be shared.

“And he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ is to suffer and to rise from the dead… and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations…  You are witnesses of these things’” (24:46-48).  During a trial, what do ‘witnesses’ do?  They don’t argue the case.  They just state the facts.  And, when we state the facts, they include Jesus, that He loves us to the point of death and gives us true life.  It’s normal for us to think, ‘Who, me?’  But, we need to hear Jesus say, ‘Yes, you!  You’re My witness!’

Two weeks ago, at the Easter Vigil, six ladies were baptized, and this is Doris Zhu’s experience of mercy, speaking also on behalf of her children, Zoe and Charlotte:


Here are six reasons why we need to share our testimony:

1) When you tell people about Jesus, they see you as a satisfied customer, as opposed to me, whom they see as a professional salesman.  So, they give you more credibility (Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, 290).

2) If we had a cure to cancer, it would be wrong not to share it.  We have the cure to spiritual cancer so we must share it.

3) Why do you think you were given God’s mercy?  It wasn’t just for you.  God’s mercy to you was meant for others.

4) When love is kept, it dies.  In Israel, the Dead Sea is the lowest land-based elevation on earth, and because water only flows in, it becomes stagnant.  When love only flows into us, we become selfish and spiritually die.

5) Love is the only thing in the world that increases when it’s given away.  If we give away money, we ourselves lose money.  Yet, when love is given away, it increases.

6) Joy increases when it’s shared.  When we tell others and they rejoice with us, our joy increases.

Because of the power of sharing God’s mercy, and because they touch the heart, since the beginning of this year, we’ve decided to show a testimony at least once a month at Mass.  A huge thank-you to the dozens of people who have already shared your testimonies over the years!

Today, let’s try something: When we go to Sunday Brunch, we have a table question if you’d like to use it: What is one recent experience of mercy that comes to mind that you can share with others?  It could be big, could be small.  But could you imagine how interesting and uplifting the conversations will be today!?  Up to you.

Tell people simply what He’s doing or has done in your life, about your joy and about how He takes care of you.

In the past, I mentioned my father a number of times, and I mention him now because this will lead to next week’s homily.  His whole life, he felt he experienced almost nothing from God.  God never gave him what he wanted and he never felt loved by his parents.  But, in his 50s, he was humbled and started acting more humbly, and started experiencing the Father’s mercy.  In the last seven years of his life, he started experiencing more and more of God’s mercy to the point that he read this book about St. Padre Pio.  In the book there was a story where Padre Pio taught the author to thank God always, even in the midst of disasters. Consequently, my father started giving out this book, to share what happened to him.  And so, when he died in 2007, my family and I had written on his tombstone ‘Thank God always.’  My dad probably had a level-four experience of God’s mercy, and to his credit, he shared that with others.

So, whenever you think to yourselves, ‘Who, me?’ you need to hear Jesus say, ‘Yes, you!’

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