The Elevate Conference came to Phoenix on April 22nd, the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday. More than 650 listeners spent the day with the Immaculate Heart Radio hosts as we explored the theme of Divine Mercy and how it affects our daily lives, our relationship with others, and our relationship with the Lord. The conference culminated in the celebration of Holy Mass with Bishop Thomas Olmsted, of the Diocese of Phoenix. In his homily, Bishop Olmsted continued the theme of Divine Mercy and gave a beautiful reflection on the paradox of human suffering and God’s mercy. He said:
“The mercy of God allows us to call suffering by its name. To see it in all its painful reality. … The mercy of God helps us to see the reality, but even more, helps us to see that Jesus is already there in the suffering. He brings into that suffering a light. As soon as we’re willing in any way to let the light come through to us – to have a new sense of the reality of any sinful, selfish action, and how it hurts us and how it hurts others.
The Lord Jesus brings healing because He joins all of our suffering with His suffering on the Cross. This is why it’s such a Catholic thing to begin with the sign of the Cross, and end with the sign of the Cross, and to have the rosary begin with a Cross, and have the Stations of the Cross surrounding us. Because we know that we were saved by the glorious sufferings of Jesus Christ. And we celebrate the triumph of the Holy Cross in a wonderful way.”
Bishop Olmsted also reflected on the Sunday Gospel reading, in which Jesus appeared to the apostles in the upper room; and later to Thomas, who after doubting the resurrection, touches the wounds of Christ. Bishop Olmsted said of this scriptural scene:
“He showed them His wounded hands and His wounded side. In other words He didn’t cover up suffering at all. And He knew that they felt guilty for not being there, even though they had promised along with Peter that they would be. But even more, He knew that we can’t hide wounds, and it never helps us to hide wounds, even from the one who may have inflicted the wounds on us.
We need to look at them, joined with Jesus, so that acknowledging the wounds we can look beyond to the one whose wounded side and wounded hands constantly pour out on us mercy, the rich mercy of God.
He displayed these radiant wounds in their new reality, to witness to the victory that He won over sin and death. And our world so badly needs to know that there is a victory of love and mercy over suffering and all that causes suffering. Mercy heals souls. Mercy heals hearts.”
Listen to the entire homily below: