Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday April 19
May Each One of Us Always Pray with a Sincere and Faith-Filled Heart, “Jesus, I Trust in You!”, for This Is Truly Our Mantra of Both Love and Faith As We Continue Our Daily Pilgrimage Through Life.
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting…His mercy endures forever” – words of our psalmist from today’s Responsorial Psalm, words which speak to our hearts of this gift of faith which we celebrate today.
Today, on this Second Sunday of Easter, we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. It was in the month of April in the year 2000 when our late Holy Father, Pope Saint John Paul II, canonized Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska, a young, uneducated nun who was a religious sister in the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and who resided in a convent in Kraków, Poland during the 1930’s.
It was Saint Faustina’s deep devotion to her Lord and His Divine Mercy which gives us, today, this universal Feast in honor of that awesome and limitless Mercy, which is God’s gift to each of us.
The Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome promulgated that Divine Mercy Sunday is to be a perennial, a permanent invitation to the entire Christian world, so that, through Jesus Christ, we may trust with confidence in the Divine benevolence and compassion of God, Himself, so that we may be strengthened in facing the difficulties and trials which each of us face, from time to time, in our daily lives, especially this year during which many of us must practice our faith from our homes because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is Divine Mercy? What is its message? How does it relate to both you and me today on a personal and intimate level? And how is it related to the Easter message – during this holiest of all seasons?
The message of The Divine Mercy is simple. It is that God loves us – each and every one of us without exception! His is a Love which is beyond human description or understanding; His is a Love which is unconditionally and freely given to each of His children, regardless of race, creed, color or religious persuasion.
And He wants us to recognize that His Mercy is greater than our worst sins! He wants us to realize that, no matter how badly we have separated ourselves from His Love, with a truly humbled and contrite heart, we can always call upon Him with complete trust – knowing that His Mercy will wash us clean, knowing that His Mercy will guide even the worst sinner into a loving and intimate relationship with Himself, and knowing that His Mercy will even flow through us to others whom our lives touch.
For it is the Divine will of Almighty God that all may one day come to share in His joy – the gift of eternal life to which He invites each and every one of His children.
This private devotion to The Divine Mercy strengthens us, enabling us to trust in His compassionate Love for both you and me. And just nine short days ago, each of us relived the proof of His Love when our Lord accepted and endured the horrific suffering and death associated with His Passion. And then, we felt the joy and the hope which God offers to each of us as we lived, in celebration, the wondrous event of His Resurrection!
I am sure that many of us are familiar with the famous quote which we have seen and heard from time to time, taken from Saint John’s Gospel, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”
This is the Easter message, and this is what we remember and celebrate on Divine Mercy Sunday!
In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives His Apostles hope and happiness, removing from their hearts the loneliness, the despair and fear with which they had been living. He appears in their midst and says to them, as He says to each of us, for the message of Easter and Jesus’ words are truly timeless, “Peace be with you.”
This God of ours, this God about whom Jesus has taught us, is a God of limitless compassion, a God of Infinite Love and understanding. This God, to whom you and I give our love and adoration, is truly a God of unfathomable and limitless Mercy!
In our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we are taught that even the early Christians understood what it meant to be Christ-like. This early community of Christians lived selflessly, sharing their abundance with those who had little. They were living examples of the Christian message of love, compassion and mercy towards one another.
And the very idea of mercy as a selfless act of love is supported by our own Catechism, which defines it as follows: “The spiritual works of mercy include instructing, advising, consoling, comforting, forgiving, and patiently forbearing. Corporal works of mercy include feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, sheltering the homeless, and burying the dead.”
I am sure that there are many times in our lives when we see or hear the acronym “WWJD” or the expression “What would Jesus do?” The Gospels are full of occurrences in which Jesus reached out to the sick and the infirm, to the poor and to the sinner. Each time He offered such kindness, our Lord was teaching us about God’s Merciful Love for His children.
And yet, with great sadness in our hearts, how many times do we witness society turning its back on the truly needy, on the homeless, the hungry and disabled, and the truly innocent ones in the womb who are unable to defend themselves?
Our daily news is sadly filled with acts of violence by both individuals and governments. Acts void of love, compassion and mercy are acts which are absent of selfless love; they are acts, rather, which are filled with selfishness and self-centeredness.
The destructive effects of violence, greed and all forms of selfishness are what brought our Lord Jesus to the Cross. They are the thorns and the nails which were driven through His flesh.
And yet, it is this same Cross which teaches us the value of self-sacrificing love, for we see in Jesus’ death the desire to lay down His own life for each of us, giving Himself fully and selflessly, Body and Blood, out of love for all. Remember that He once said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
And then, in the Resurrection which followed, that self-sacrificing, Eternal Love is vindicated when the Father raises Him to life and Jesus is exalted, victorious over death and sin! His example of giving of oneself for the needs of others is an example for each of us to live in our daily lives, focusing upon and embracing the example of Divine Love which our Lord left us, exclaiming from the very depths of our being that which Thomas exclaimed in his affirmation of faith, “My Lord and my God!”
In our Second Reading today, Peter proclaims the idea of this selfless, Eternal Love – “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…”
As Christians, when we open our hearts and truly imitate the selfless nature of Christ through our own acts of love, compassion and mercy towards one another, we ourselves become living examples of God’s Eternal and selfless Love through which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his or her spiritual and bodily needs – always remembering what Jesus once taught His followers on the Mount, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
Mercy is that Godlike quality which truly makes us sons and daughters of our Eternal Father! Mercy is that Godlike quality which truly makes us brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ! And mercy is that Godlike quality which truly makes each of us Christian disciples filled with the Holy Spirit!
It is God’s Mercy which enables each and every one of us to truly feel and believe, in faith, the words we find in our Responsorial which began this meditation, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting…His mercy endures forever.”
May each one of us, both you and I, always pray with a sincere and faith-filled heart the words which we find in the Divine Mercy devotion, “Jesus, I trust in You!” – for this is truly our mantra of love and faith as we continue our daily pilgrimage through life!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you on this wondrous Feastday! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 118:1)
- “Bless the LORD, my soul; and do not forget all his gifts, Who pardons all your sins, and heals all your ills. He redeems your life from the pit, and crowns you with mercy and compassion…Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger, abounding in mercy.” (Psalm 103:2-4,8)
- “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
- “All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes.” (Acts 2:44-46a)
- “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…” (1 Peter 1:3-4)
- “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
- “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ…” (Ephesians 2:4-5b)
- “I will espouse you to me forever: I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy; I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the LORD.” (Hosea 2:21-22)
- “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad.” (Psalm 118:24)
Prayer for the Day
“O Greatly Merciful God, Infinite Goodness,
today all mankind calls out from the abyss of its misery
to Your mercy – to Your compassion, O God;
and it is with its mighty voice of misery that it cries out.
do not reject the prayer of this earth’s exiles!
O Lord, Goodness beyond our understanding,
Who are acquainted with our misery through and through,
and know that by our own power we cannot ascend to You.
“We implore You: anticipate us with Your grace
and keep on increasing Your mercy in us,
that we may faithfully do Your holy will
all through our life and at death’s hour.
“Let the omnipotence of Your mercy
shield us from the darts of our salvation’s enemies,
that we may, with confidence, as Your children,
await Your Final Coming – that day known to You alone.
And we expect to obtain everything promised us by Jesus
in spite of all our wretchedness.
“For Jesus is our Hope:Prayer for Divine Mercy (St. Faustina, Diary, 1570)
Through His Merciful Heart, as through an open gate,
we pass through to Heaven.”