Divine Mercy Sunday
On Sunday April 30, 2000 at Mass in St. Peters’ Square for the canonization of Sr. Mary Faustina Kowalska, Pope John Paul II declared that from then on throughout the Church the Second Sunday of Easter would be called “Divine Mercy Sunday”.
You may have noticed the portrait of the Divine Mercy in the narthex as you entered church, if you came in the East doors. Sr. Faustina described her vision of Christ to an artist and this is the result. She saw coming from the Heart of Jesus, two rays of light which illuminated the world. "The two rays", according to what Jesus himself told her, "represent the blood and the water". The blood recalls his sacrificial death on Golgotha and the mystery of the Eucharist; the water recalls for us the graces of Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Spirit.
Christ taught Sister Faustina a chaplet, which he asked her to pray unceasingly. The chaplet is prayed on rosary beads: on the Our Father beads we say the following: Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. Then on the Hail Mary Beads we say: For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Some of you may have participated in the Divine Mercy Novena which began on Good Friday. Jesus told Sr. Faustina: "On each day of the novena you will bring to My heart a different group of souls and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy ... On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My passion, for graces for these souls."
The essence of devotion to the Divine Mercy is trust in God and a merciful outreach to others. One must trust and practice works of mercy by deed, word, and prayer.
Christ told Sr. Faustina: “My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world. Who can measure the extent of my goodness? For you I descended from heaven to earth; for you I allowed myself to be nailed to the cross; for you I let my Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy. Come to me, then, with trust to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart. You will give me pleasure if you hand over to me all your troubles and grief. I shall heap upon you the treasures of my grace.”
The Lord Jesus entrusted to Sr. Faustina a mission for all humanity: to make known again God's merciful love towards every human being; to pass on a new form of worship of God's mercy; and to inspire a movement of trust in God and mercy for man.
These mercies are to flow forth from us to all those we meet in our everyday lives. It is our mission to become that which we have received. We are invited to grow into the love of God through our love of others. Christ burns with the desire to be loved and for us to build a new civilization of love.
As we fix our gaze on the divine Savior’s face in the portrait in the narthex, let us repeat with Sr. Faustina, whom we remember today: "Jesus, I trust in you". Mary, Mother of Mercy, help us always to have this trust in your Son, our Redeemer.