Sunday, April 11th 2021 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin
Since the year 2000, the second Sunday of Easter has been celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday. Pope Saint John Paul II initiated this annual celebration at the Canonization Mass of Saint Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun, reported to have had visions and visitations from Jesus and had conversations with him. I visited the Divine Mercy Center outside of Krakow Poland when I attended the 2016 World Youth Day.
This annual feast tells us that God’s mercy shared with us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ is more important today than ever before. To put it simply: today, we are celebrating Jesus’ merciful love for us and how we can partake in it. So often the devil tells us that we are unworthy of God’s love and mercy or that God will never forgive us of this or that sin.
No matter where we are on our journey as a disciple of Christ, we are all in need of God’s merciful love. There are countless times throughout our day when we miss the mark – which is a definition of sin. For instance, we might fail to respond in kind to our spouse or kids, fall into gossip in our workday, or even forget to think positively of others. These shortcomings call us to humble ourselves and receive the unwavering mercy of God.
Jesus is Mercy itself. He was born into time to save us from sin. And to ensure His Mercy was always available to us, He gave us the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus encountered the apostles after the resurrection and said, “’Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me so I send you.’ Then he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.’” Jesus gave us the gift of this sacrament because He offers us eternal life, but we must want it too. He knows that eternal life is impossible without His merciful love, and we must do our part to resolve to do better, to change our sinful habits, and to follow Him more faithfully.
Today, may we recall the precious gift God has given to us through His Son — Mercy itself. May we never forget that, with a contrite heart and a resolution to live our lives for Him, God is always willing to forgive.
Divine Mercy Chaplet Closing Prayer
Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.