A Drop in the Ocean

(Homily for Second Sunday of Easter - Divine Mercy Sunday)

Bottom line: An invitation to experience Divine Mercy and to pray for family with dad at Northwest Detention Center.

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. In this context I want to communicate to you what is happening with a family in our parish. I will ask your prayers for them ' and for our country and world. Before telling you about this family, I want to place their situation into a bigger context: Divine Mercy ' God's compassionate love for us.

In our sanctuary we have the Divine Mercy image. Today's Psalm repeated these words: His mercy endures forever. In the Gospel Jesus makes Divine Mercy evident by his resurrection. When he appears to the disciples, he does not chide them or chew them out ' even though they deserved it. They had all run away. Peter denied that he even knew Jesus. Jesus does not chastise them, but instead says, 'Peace be with you.' Then he breathed the Holy Spirit on them. The Holy Spirit is God's Divine Mercy. By the power the Holy Spirit, he gives them a task: they are to be his official representatives in forgiving sins: Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven. What we see is great outpouring of Divine Mercy.

Someone who had a powerful insight into Divine Mercy was Mother Angelica. I am sure you have heard of her ' the Poor Clare nun who founded the EWTN ' the Eternal Word Television Network. Once she was at a beach in California and even though she wears leg braces, she likes to get close to the surf. A large wave came in and the water covered her shoes. Then she heard a voice, "Angelica, that drop represents all your sins, all your imperfections and all your frailties. Throw it in the ocean." She threw it back. Then she heard the Lord say, "The ocean is My mercy. Now if you looked for that drop, would you ever find it?"

"No, Lord," she replied. Mother Angelica then told the people in her audience that their sins are like that drop in the ocean. "Every day, every minute of the day, throw your drop in the ocean of his His mercy. Then, don't worry, just try harder."*

Every day we should throw our sins into the ocean of Divine Mercy ' and make a fresh start. We need the Divine Mercy in our hearts ' and in our families. Every family in our parish is going through some difficulties. Only the Divine Mercy can protect our families and keep them together. As I mentioned at the beginning of the homily, I would like to tell about what is happening with one particular family in our parish.

This family is living with fear because on Monday their dad was picked up by Immigration. He is now being held at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. As you can imagine the mom is upset and afraid. She moved out of their home and is living with another family. Her two older children are Holy Family School graduates: one in 2002, the other in 2005. The two younger children currently attend Holy Family ' in second grade and Kindergarten. The older children have received most of their education in this country and want to make their future ' but they afraid. The two younger ones are U.S. citizens, but of course if their mom is deported they will not be able to stay.

Pray for this family ' and for the leaders in our country, that they will come up with a solution to our immigration crisis. Also pray for the home countries of our immigrants. No one really wants to leave their own country ' unless things are bad there. I don't know what the solution to all this is, but I do know that many of our families live in fear and are suffering terribly. It is important that we support each other as a parish family.

For us as Christians, God wants us to work for justice ' but also for mercy. This Sunday we have before us the Divine Mercy image. The rays of light coming from Christ's heart are red and white. The white represents the waters of baptism, red ' the color of blood ' is the Eucharist. Between them we can see a third sacrament: Reconciliation or confession. These are sacraments of Divine Mercy. Like Thomas we want to draw near the wounds of Christ, especially his heart. Like Mother Angelica we throw our sins into the ocean of Divine Mercy. In the words of today's Psalm: 'Let those who fear the Lord say, his mercy endures forever.'


*From Mother Angelica's Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality by Ramond Arroyo.

**Even to non-Catholics I have not refused absolution. I have said a prayer with them, given them a blessing and explained what they need to do to become members of Christ's Church, eligible for sacramental absolution.

Earlier Version

Spanish Version

From Archives:

2014 Homily: Journey to Hope Week 2
2013: Overcoming Fear - A Titanic Hero
2012: Divine Mercy in a Time of Crisis
2011: His Mercy Endures
2010: Believing Is Seeing
2009: The Eighth Day
2008: Reconciliation
2007: A Drop in the Ocean
2006: Mercy in Action
2005: The Grandeur of God
2004: God Loves Honest Skeptics
2003: The Truth Is Out There
2002: Divine Mercy
2001: Doubting The Doubts
2000: A Requisite for Faith
1999: Neither Gullible nor Rigid
1998: Be Not Afraid!
1997: Room for Doubt

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

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Divine Mercy Novena (print ready in English & Spanish)

Bulletin (37 baptized, school dad picked up by Immigration, how to respond to those asking for a handout, pictures of Good Friday vigil)


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Please take time to read what our bishops are saying about Religious Liberty & Conscience Protection

The Archdiocese of Seattle also has helpful resources regarding the defense of marriage and family

Parish Picture Album

(March 2013)

Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish - April 20, 2013)

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MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru