Jesus is the font of God’s Divine Mercy

APRIL 19, 2020 SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER

DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY

FOCUS: Today the Church celebrates Divine Mercy Sunday. The central focus is our celebration of the resurrection of Christ and the floodgates of God’s mercy being opened upon us, and is based both on Scripture and the revelations of Saint Faustina Kowalska.

Peter says in today’s second reading, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.

Saint John Paul II, in his canonization of Sister Mary Faustina Kowalska, instituted this day into the Church calendar. In his homily, he said:

“It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church will be called ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.’ In the various readings, the liturgy seems to indicate the path of mercy which, while re-establishing the relationship of each person with God, also creates new relations of fraternal solidarity among human beings. Christ has taught us that “man not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but is also called ‘to practise mercy’ towards others: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Mt5:7)” (Dives in misericordia,n. 14).

That mercy is easily seen in the many healing miracles recalled in the Gospels. In each one, whether physical or spiritual, the power of Christ to renew, forgive, and heal bursts into the life of someone and, at times, even turns upside down the very laws of nature.

In today’s Gospel, that specific ministry of forgiveness and mercy is passed to the disciples, when Jesus says, Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them. This is Divine Mercy.

When Thomas, broken and distraught at the death of Jesus cannot, or will not, bring himself to accept the Resurrection, Jesus gently takes him from obstinate refusal to a moment of faith. He coaxes from Thomas one of the great confessions of faith: My Lord and my God!In that moment, Thomas is healed and changed – healed of his grief and pain, changed from doubt to belief. This is Divine Mercy.

Having experienced that same forgiveness and healing in their own lives, the disciples now become carriers of these gifts for all who will hear and respond to their preaching. For what they say about the risen Christ is no mere fantasy. They witnessed his death on the cross, and now they witness with their very eyes and with the touch of their hands that he is fully alive. Divine Mercy.

The need for those gifts of mercy and healing is as great today as it was in apostolic times, as Saint John Paul II noted. Without it, we are lost – still in our sins, unable to be reconciled with God. So as we continue to celebrate the Resurrection, let us each open our hearts to those gifts and then commit ourselves to be conduits of them to others. Divine Mercy.