Fr. Voigt, "Man where art thou?"
The response came from the bushes. Man admits that he is in the bush hiding because he is "naked and ashamed". "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the fruit from which I told you not to eat?"
Now here comes the blame game. "The woman You gave me offered the fruit to me and I ate." Thus speaks every man, woman and child. It is always the other person's fault that I sinned. Mankind just does not want to take responsibility for the fall. We are all guilty as sin and we just don't want to face up to it. The consequence is that we start wars, we cheat and steal, we lust after another, we become angry over the slightest offense, and
so on. The Fall initiates the mercy of God for just as God sought out Adam after the sin. So God seeks out each of us in His infinite mercy.
Consider the expressions of His Love calling upon all men and women to return to Him. There is sickness which makes us aware of our vulnerable nature and in the quiet of the night beckons us to pray to God for the healing we desire. There are contradictions in the family that cause us to seek the eternal family in which love reigns supreme. There are political leaders who desire only to fill up their greedy bank accounts but will hand over the poor citizen to endless unjust laws. Everything and everyone that seems to be an obstacle is nothing more than the voice of God calling out to us: "Man where art thou?" This is the first aspect of His Divine Mercy...He seeks us out and we pray that we might "come to our senses" and figure this test out before it is too late for us.
In the second aspect of Divine Mercy the sinner returns and receive the "hug" of God. The Father sees us from afar and makes everything ready to restore our sonship. The Good Shepherd searches high and low for the lost sheep and when He finds it He places it on His shoulders and carries it home. The lost dracma is uncovered by the woman and she calls in all her neighbors to rejoice with her for she has found the lost coin. She is the Church established by our Lord Jesus Christ to encourage all to confess their sins and do penance.
This is the mercy all of us deep down desire. We want to know that our sins do not destroy the love of God for us and we want to love Him in return for His unbelievable Love for us. Certainly mercy is about the search and the hug. This is not a question of feeling but rather the revelation of the fact. God cannot deny his nature and He will forgive and embrace while man for his part seeks always to condemn and crucify. When we will learn that the test of mercy is the test of our will's desire to enter the kingdom of God. This is the kingdom within the heart of all of mankind. We are the lost sheep, we are the lost coin, we are the ones needed by God to complete the 100 rational sheep who have learn to trust in the mercy of God and to live it. For as we have been forgiven so must we forgive others even those who wish to murder us. "Father, forgive them they know not what they do." This is the highest expression of mercy and it is within us if we wish to open the "Door" to heaven.
May the mercy of God capture your hearts and lead you to the humility to forgive others who sin against you.
In the hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Fr. Richard Voigt