The Catholic Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo has called on Christians to become apostles of mercy, by making themselves the channels and instrument of God’s mercy and forgiveness. Bishop Badejo gave the charge last Sunday in his summary of the reflection on Divine Mercy Sunday, titled, “Thank God for the channels of his mercy.” Quoting Acts 4:32-37, which states that the Church through us then will reclaim its true character, the Bishop noted that the world, the Nigerian nation, as well as its people need God’s mercy to conquer the numerous vices witnessed in the world. He said: “The world needs God’s mercy, our country needs God’s mercy to conquer greed, corruption, tribalism, indiscipline and wickedness. We all need God’s mercy. “The reggae singer, Jimmy Cliff once sang: ‘Too many people are suffering, too many people are sad. To little people have everything while too many people have nothing.’ We pray for God’s mercy, and God needs agents to carry his mercy to the world. Be an apostle of mercy and mercy shall be poured down on you. We ask the Holy Spirit to turn you too into an instrument of God’s mercy. Yes, we can!” Speaking on the Divine Mercy celebration, the Bishop said: “The world recently celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday (DVS).
We must never forget to thank Pope John Paul the Great who activated that celebration in the year 2000 to hold on the Sunday after Easter Sunday. Nor must we ever forget Sr. Faustina Kowalska, through whose inspiration it came to be. “DVS reminds us of God’s mercy, of many ways in which God’s mercy is gifted to the world and the reasons we have to be thankful and also forgiving. We who are alive must focus on giving thanks to God the Father, who alone is the source of mercy. ‘Give thanks to the Lord for he is good for his mercy is without end’ (Psalm 136, Ex. 33:19, Rom 9:15-16).” Thanking God for Jesus, he said: “We thank Jesus Christ the son, who is the mercy of the Father, ‘for God so loved the world that he sent his only son that all who believe in him may not perish, but may have eternal life. (Jn. 3:16). Jesus said, ‘Be merciful just as your father is merciful’ (Lk 6:36). He said, ‘Blessed are the merciful for they shall have mercy shown them’ (Matt 5:7).
He said it is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. It is mercy I want, not sacrifice (Matt 9:13).” While urging the people to thank God for the Holy Spirit, Bishop Badejo said: “We give thanks to the Holy Spirit, the comforter who is the instrument of God’s mercy. God gave him to us in the name of Jesus: (Jn 14:25-26). We read about how Jesus gave power of forgiveness to the world, to us through the disciples: ‘As the father sent me. So am I sending you’ (Jn 20: 21). We see how he gave the great gift through the Holy Spirit: ‘Receive the Holy spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained’ (Jn 20: 23).
So, we must thank God especially for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the gift of which John speaks, and be courageous in receiving it (Heb 4:15-16).” While thanking God for those who do the work of mercy, the Bishop said: “Let us also thank all those through whom Divine Mercy is brought down to us. They are all channels of Divine Mercy; parents, teachers, guardians and priests, religious, catechists, prayer leaders, doctors, nurses, health workers, and all who work for charity and care; all philanthropists and benefactors. “We thank the church associations that are directly committed to the work of mercy; the Legion of Mary, the St Vincent de Paul, the Pro Labore Dei, The Caritas group, those who help prisoners, and all others. We pray, thanking God for them. Don’t forget good politicians, journalists, security agents, judges, lawyers and civil servants. We still have some around us. They need our prayers and goodwill too.