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

Divine Mercy Sunday: Gospel – John 20:19-31

St. John Paul II established the Second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday.

In his encyclical Dives in Misericordia (“rich in mercy”), JPII wrote that Jesus makes God’s mercy “incarnate and personifies it” (2). Expressing the Father’s love and mercy thus becomes “the fundamental touchstone of His mission as the Messiah” (3).

This is especially visible in the Paschal Mystery: “In His resurrection, Christ has revealed the God of merciful love, precisely because He accepted the cross as the way to the resurrection,” proving that the Father’s love “is more powerful than death” and “more powerful than sin” (8).

Mercy in itself, as a perfection of the infinite God, is also infinite….Infinite are the readiness and power of forgiveness which flow continually from the marvelous value of the sacrifice of the Son. No human sin can prevail over this power or even limit it. On the part of man, only a lack of good will can limit it, a lack of readiness to be converted and to repent.

— ibid.,13.

And yet even when we put up obstacles, the Lord still seeks us out, and offers us a way to trust in Him.

We see this clearly in today’s Gospel passage about “doubting Thomas,” which speaks to us in three important ways, according to Benedict XVI:

First, because it comforts us in our insecurity; second, because it shows us that every doubt can lead to an outcome brighter than any uncertainty; and, lastly, because the words that Jesus addressed to him remind us of the true meaning of mature faith and encourage us to persevere, despite the difficulty, along our journey of adhesion to him.

The figure of Thomas shows us that we have “the right, so to speak, to ask Jesus for explanations” —

Let us be brave enough to say: ‘I do not understand you, Lord; listen to me, help me to understand.’

General Audience of September 27, 2006.

Question for reflection: When has the Lord brought His mercy home to me in a personal way?