Today we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. Pope John Paul II, now Saint John Paul II, had a great appreciation for and understanding of mercy. He stated in one of his papal addresses: “What is mercy if not the boundless love of God, who confronted with human sin, restrains the sentiment of severe justice and, allowing Himself to be moved by the wretchedness of His creatures, spurs Himself to the total gift of self, in the Son’s cross? Who can say that he is free from sin and does not need God’s mercy? As people of this restless time of ours, wavering between the emptiness of self-examination and the humiliation of despair, we have a greater need than ever for a regenerating experience of mercy.”
Today as we focus on the mercy of God, our Church has stated the following about this great feast, as previously noted: “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.”
In these difficult and uncertain times, we are challenged to truly appreciate this day and reflect a spirit of mercy, repentance and reconciliation in our lives. Jesus’ message to Faustina reminds us that there is no limit to the Lord’s mercy for those who truly believe, for those who humbly ask for forgiveness.
The following prayer provided by “Catholic Online” reflects the depth of the mercy that God extends to us:
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. Amen.
As we reflect on this prayer, and on the words of Our Holy Father, we invite our parishioners and friends to embrace the generous gift of God’s mercy in a humble spirit of thanksgiving.