Bishop: Pray for mercy for our sins
Our Blessed Lord handed over his body and spirit to the Father out of purest love and endless mercy for us, Bishop Carl A. Kemme said in a Divine Mercy Sunday message in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
“It is good, then, that we who are sinners come here in this hour before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, who out of mercy, remains with us to help us on our journey to the Kingdom of Heaven,” he said. “It is fitting that we come to pray, to reflect, and to beg him for the mercy we need for the sins we commit and for all the evil still present in our world.”
Child abuse a grievous sin
One particularly serious sin is child abuse, Bishop Kemme said, adding that April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.
“Abuse of children, which has plagued all of human history, is nevertheless a sin in our day and time that has caused so much harm and destruction, so much sorrow and shame,” he said.
“It is a sin that we must humbly acknowledge and submit to the tribunal of God’s justice and allow God’s mercy to heal those who have been abused through forgiveness and reconciliation and to redeem by acts of reparation those who have committed it.”
All abuse is evil, Bishop Kemme said, adding that child abuse is particularly evil especially if that abuse is caused by a member of the church: a bishop, a priest, a deacon, a religious, or a layperson representing the church.
“I wish to express my deepest regret and remorse to each and every person and their families who have been harmed in any way by someone in the church,” he said.
Leaders should protect
“It should not have happened. I will continue to pray for your healing and wholeness. These sins of abuse have caused so much scandal and division and it is imperative for us in leadership to do all we can to protect those under our care and to bring healing to those who have been harmed and justice to those who have perpetrated these criminal acts.”
Bishop Kemme said the commitment will never end and that everyone has a role in safeguarding children who Jesus desires to come to him and for whom he has a special love.
The day’s Gospel describes blood and water flowing from Jesus’ side, he said.
“Are these not signs of the life-giving grace that is best known as mercy? Blood is the life force within us and without it, we would die.”
Christ’s shed his blood that we might live and water is a powerful symbol of mercy that refreshes, heals, and washes away sins.
“Let the blood and water from Christ’s open side flow throughout the whole world today, Divine Mercy Sunday, so that his life-giving blood and healing water will restore our life and heal the wounds of sin and division.”
Bishop Kemme closed his homily by repeating Psalm 118 that was sung at Mass: “Let the house of Israel say, His mercy endures forever. Let the house of Aaron say, His mercy endures forever. Let those who fear the Lord say, His mercy endures forever.” Alleluia! Praise the Lord For His Mercy truly endures forever. Amen.”