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MERCY – 2nd Sunday of Easter, Year B

            Divine Mercy and human mercy are among the greatest needs in human life. Without mercy there is little faith, hope and love in human life. We can say that because there is so much sin and evil in the world, injuries and misunderstandings which separate people from the Lord, others and themselves. Mercy unites people back to themselves, others, the Church, and the Lord.

            Life is threatened unless mercy is known, offered, given and received. Many find mercy hard to accept for themselves and hard to give to others. Mercy counters revenge, anger, sin, guilt and destruction. The devil hates mercy. People who accept mercy turn away from sin. People who don’t accept mercy go into more sin. Mercy was among the first experiences of the Apostles and Disciples. Without mercy they would not have been able to bear witness with power to Jesus risen from the dead. God’s mercy comes from His love revealed in Jesus. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love is everlasting. His mercy endures forever.” Mercy (love) is more easily given by those who accept mercy.

            The Lord raised up Sister Faustina in Poland in the 1930s to draw attention to His great mercy. In 2000, Sister Maria Faustina, the Apostle of Divine Mercy, was canonized to Saint Maria Faustina. She received revelations from Jesus about Divine Mercy. The Lord gave her the mission of making known His great mercy, which many find hard to accept. She was to work toward the second Sunday of Easter being proclaimed 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 graces flow are opened.”

            In one of the revelations to Sister Faustina, the Lord told her to have an image of His mercy painted. The Lord explained: “The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous; the red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. These two rays issued from the depths of My tender Mercy at the time My agonizing Heart was opened by a lance on the cross. Fortunate is the one who will dwell in their shelter…” The rays of water and blood recall Baptism, the Eucharist and the Gift of the Holy Spirit. In the Spirit, and receiving the Lord’s mercy in the Sacraments, we can pray with confidence the prayer Jesus wanted on the image, “Jesus, I trust in You”.

            The Lord said: “I want this image to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy. On that day, the depths of My Mercy will be open to all. Mankind will not enjoy peace until it turns with confidence to My Mercy”.

            The Apostles and disciples in seeing the Risen Lord had to experience divine mercy and forgiveness. Besides assuring them He was risen from the dead and alive, the Lord assured them of His mercy and forgiveness. Among the Risen Lord’s first words when He revealed Himself and His wounded side and hands to them had to do with peace, forgiveness, mercy and mission. “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, so I send you.” He passed the Holy Spirit into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

            The Church has received the mission of Christ. His mission revealed the mercy and forgiveness of God. The more His followers accept His mercy, the more faithfully the Church carries out His mission, and the more sin and Satan are defeated. No individual disciple carries out the mission of Christ without accepting His mercy. The power of the Church is the power of Christ, therefore, unlimited. That doesn’t mean it’s fully utilized. The spiritual Gifts of the Spirit are tremendous, but have to be responded to.

            The appearances of the Risen Lord filled the apostles and disciples with great joy and peace. The constant news they proclaimed to themselves and others was: “We have seen the Lord”. Faith is the foundation for knowing the Lord’s mercy, forgiveness and peace. Thomas had committed himself totally to Jesus in the time of His public ministry. He was greatly wounded in the events of Jesus’ suffering and death. He was also disappointed in himself, since he had said he would go with Jesus to his death, but was unable to do so. He was not going to commit himself again without assurances. He said against the witness of the other disciples who kept telling him: “We have seen the Lord”, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in His hands and put my finger into the nail marks, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” Thomas was present the second Sunday of Easter when the Risen Lord appeared to them. He took Thomas up on his demand. “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas made his act of faith. “My Lord and My God.” The Lord said: “Have you come to believe because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” “Speak to the world about My mercy…It is a sign for the end of time. After it will come the Day of Justice. Tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice is near.”

            Respond to this time of mercy!” Go to Confession, receive Holy Communion on the second Sunday of Easter, and attend a Divine Mercy Holy Hour so that you too may receive God’s Mercy and Peace!

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