Divine Mercy Sunday

2nd Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday: Gospel – John 20:19-31

This Gospel passage featuring “doubting Thomas” is appropriate for Divine Mercy Sunday.

When revealing the unfathomable depths of His mercy to St Faustina Kowalska in the 1930s, Jesus emphasized how much He longs for us to trust Him, and how our lack of trust grieves Him.

Just as Jesus showed His wounds to Thomas as proof of His resurrection, so does He remind us of His wounds as a pledge of His mercy:

Remember My Passion, and if you do not believe My words, at least believe My wounds.

— Diary of St Faustina, paragraph 379.

Thus Jesus implores us to entrust ourselves to His merciful Heart, especially today, Divine Mercy Sunday. This feast was not established because of a personal inspiration on the part of St John Paul II, nor is it just a matter of one’s own spiritual tastes.

Jesus Himself is the Author of Divine Mercy Sunday. In His revelations to St Faustina, the Lord requested that the second Sunday of Easter be dedicated as the Feast of Divine Mercy:

I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy.

The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flows are opened.

Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity (699).

Just as He ordered the Feast, so did Jesus call for the Divine Mercy image to be painted, depicting the rays of mercy streaming from His Heart:

The two rays denote Blood and Water…These two rays issued forth from the very depths of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross (299).

Jesus commissioned St. Faustina to spread the Divine Mercy devotion throughout the world, asking us to confide in His infinite love for us:

I came down from heaven out of love for you, I lived for you, I died for you, and I created the heavens for you (853).

Love has brought Me here, and love keeps Me here (576).

I dwell in the tabernacle as King of Mercy (367a).

Question for reflection: When has the Lord in His mercy helped me through a struggle of faith?

Engaging the Gospel – Divine Mercy Sunday

Second Sunday of Easter/Divine Mercy Sunday: Gospel – John 20:19-31

Divine Mercy Sunday is an especially fitting day for the canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II.

In his address upon the opening of the Second Vatican Council, John XXIII memorably said that “we prefer to make use of the medicine of mercy, rather than that of severity.”

John Paul, as Archbishop of Krakow, embraced the Divine Mercy devotion promoted by his compatriot, St. Faustina Kowalska.

When canonizing St. Faustina on this Second Sunday of Easter in 2000, John Paul declared that henceforth this day would be called Divine Mercy Sunday — highlighting the theme that was already present in our readings for this Mass.

John Paul explained how Sunday’s Gospel reveals the mercy of Christ:

Jesus shows His hands and His side. He points, that is, to the wounds of the Passion, especially the wound in His Heart, the source from which flows the great wave of mercy poured out on humanity. From that heart Sr. Faustina…will see two rays of light shining and illuminating the world: ‘The two rays,’ Jesus Himself explained to her one day, ‘represent blood and water.’ …

The blood recalls the sacrifice of the Cross and the gift of the Eucharist; the water, in Johannine symbolism, represents not only Baptism but also the gift of the Holy Spirit. Divine Mercy reaches human beings through the Heart of Christ crucified…

As the Apostles once did, today too humanity must welcome into the upper room of history the risen Christ, Who shows the wounds of His Crucifixion and repeats: ‘Peace be with you!’ …

Thus the message of divine mercy is also implicitly a message about the value of every human being. Each person is precious in God’s eyes; Christ gave His life for each one; to everyone the Father gives His Spirit and offers intimacy…

The gentle face of Christ is offered; those rays from His Heart touch them and shine upon them, warm them, show them the way and fill them with hope.

Homily of April 30, 2000

Nearly five years later, in 2005, Pope John Paul died on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday.

Question for reflection: How is my heart changed by experiencing Jesus’ mercy?