This Sunday we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. On this day, one week after Easter, we are reminded why Jesus rose from the dead: and one of the reasons was to shower the world with divine mercy.
This is what the Church has to say in part about this great feast: “During the Church’s millennium celebration in 2000, Pope John Paul II declared that the Second Sunday of Easter be known as ‘Divine Mercy Sunday’. Prior to this celebration, the Pope also wrote a profound encyclical called ‘Rich in Mercy’. This encyclical explained the doctrinal and scriptural foundations for our understanding of mercy. Our Holy Father looked to a holy woman of Poland, Sr. Faustina, for inspiration. He canonized Sr. Faustina at that same Mass in 2000 at which he instituted the observance of Divine Mercy Sunday. He also clearly articulated the essential message that Jesus gave to Sr. Faustina and the message is that the graces of His mercy are greater than the stains of our sins.” Jesus’ message to Sr. Faustina reminds us that there is no limit to His mercy for those who truly believe, for those who humbly ask for forgiveness.
Sr. Faustina was a Catholic nun and mystic from Poland. She experienced apparitions of Jesus which inspired the devotion of Divine Mercy and earned her the title of “Apostle of Divine Mercy.” The outlet “Catholics Online” stated, “Her entire life, in imitation of Christ’s, was to be a sacrifice-a life lived for others. At the Divine Lord’s request, she willingly offered her personal sufferings in union with Him to atone for the sins of others. In her daily life she was to become a doer of mercy, bringing joy and peace to others, and by writing about God’s mercy, she was to encourage others to trust in Him and thus prepare the world for His coming again. Her special devotion to Mary Immaculate and the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation gave her the strength to bear her sufferings as an offering to God on behalf of the Church and those in special need, especially great sinners and the dying.”
Pope Francis, in the spirit of Sr. Faustina, reaffirmed the need for mercy. He said the Church must always keep its doors open so no one is excluded from God’s mercy. He challenged us to extend God’s mercy to those around us. He said, “…the bigger the sin, the greater must be the love that the Church shows to those who convert.”
This Sunday, as we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, we will have a Holy Hour at the Church at 3:00 pm, the acknowledged hour of Divine Mercy. At that time, we can thank the Lord in a special way for His mercy and for the gift of our precious faith which we should humbly embrace and cherish.