Archdiocese of Yangon

Cardinal Bo’s Message for Divine Mercy Sunday

Archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar

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Today is the Divine Mercy Sunday.  To all my brothers and sisters participating through live stream, my prayers, and blessings on this great day in the Paschal Season.

May all the people of this country be blessed by God’s mercy.

I address all the people of Myanmar and to all in the global village.  As the Pope said, “We are all together in this time of anxiety.”   My dear Myanmar people of any race or religion, today we are all together.   This Divine Mercy Sunday calls all of us to pray together.

Our planet is wounded.  Wounded by a virus – not visible to the eyes.   There are two million people affected by this virus and around 150,000 people died.  The evil virus has prevented public grieving.  Thousands are buried unwept, unsung in unmarked graves. Even those living cannot live together.  Humanity’s oneness remains broken.

Mercifully Myanmar is spared of the ferocity of this virus that visited even rich countries like America.  We pray today that all may be saved.

After celebrating Easter in empty churches, what does this Divine Mercy Sunday means to all of us?

More than any time, all of us need to grasp the true meaning of God.   There has been some erratic reflection of this COVID  pandemic as a punishment of God.  Today’s readings talk about the lack of faith of Thomas.  Yes, even those who walked with Jesus could not believe in the power of his resurrection.  These are days when God’s presence and his providence comes under great query.  We understand that fear.

Divine Mercy Sunday comes to allay all those fears.  God’s love is stronger than death.  The message of Divine Mercy Sunday is God never abandons us.  In his infinite mercy, we are all saved.   This year we have come to celebrate that hope of Mercy.

God never punishes his children.  When Moses was on Mount Sinai,  he humbly requested Yahweh to give him some qualities of Yahweh which he could share with how people.  It was one of the most moving passages of the Bible,  Yahweh tells  Moses :

” The Lord, The Lord God, Merciful and gracious, abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity”  Exodus 34: 6-7.   God reveals himself as the most merciful God.   Jesus will instruct his disciples.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. ( Luke 6:36).

Our own faith constantly tells us that God never punishes.  He offered his own son because as John says “ God so loved the world that he gave his only son, not to condemn but to redeem.(John 3:16).

God as divine mercy was powerfully revealed in recent times through Sr Faustina in Poland.  St John Paul affirmed the merciful nature of our God by declaring in the liturgical calendar this Sunday as the Divine Mercy Sunday.

We are living through a time frightening and often a big challenge to our faith.  The Easter message of the empty tomb – of Jesus’ victory over sins is marred by the empty churches.   The place where all of us gathered to pray as a family to our God remains closed.   Thousands have died and millions are infected.

It is easy to lose faith.  Thankfully we have this Divine Mercy Sunday to help us.

In these dark moments,  Sr Faustina’s diary of her conversations with God, help us to fortify our faith.   Sr Faustina writes:   Jesus is God’s message of Mercy.   To experience that three commitments are to be made.

  1. Total trust in Jesus that he is the Lord of Mercy
  2. That Jesus holds our hand in our moments of darkness in his mercy
  3. We need to grow in Mercy through showing mercy to our fellow human beings.

Yes.  Mercy needs to be our way of worshipping God in these times of suffocating darkness of hopelessness.   We may be prevented from public participation in Liturgy. But Mercy becomes our new form of Liturgy.

This virus has attacked everyone: neither the rich or the poor, neither this race or that race escaped the wrath of this virus.   Still no vaccine so far.    Pope Francis in his Urbi et Orbi feared that more than this deadly virus,  human beings may change.    Four major mind- change, according to Pope Francis, is already attacking as a mental virus. The four major mental viruses are :

  • Indifference  to  human suffering
  • Selfishness forgetting that God exists in the community 
  • Division based on entrenched ego 
  • Forgetfulness of our neighbor.

Divine Mercy Sunday offers a  vaccine for this mental virus. Sr. Faustina once again shares her results of apparitions.   Mercy needs to be a way of life to all Christians.   This mercy needs to be shown in three ways.   At this time when we are asked to be away from our brothers and sisters through Social Distancing, the message of Sr Faustina is simple:

Show mercy through three ways   Through Deeds, through Words and more importantly through prayer.

Yes.  Social distancing and avoiding one another may save our lives.  But these are the times when we need to pray for others, spend time thinking of others.    Mercy becomes the new liturgy.  We are united may not be in churches built of stones but church built through acts of Mercy.

When Mercy becomes our life motivation,  we can win together any virus. This Divine Mercy Sunday is a great reminder to return to our humanity.  Our Buddhist brothers in this land have long nurtured two virtues: compassion and Mercy (Karuna and Metta) as two eyes of their life.   So we are united in our sacred pilgrimage of Mercy – Metta as the people of Myanmar.  Let our oneness in our pursuit of Metta, defeat the march of menacing Covid -19.

Let God as mercy is the revelation to us and through us.

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Cardinal Charles Bo

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