The 2nd Sunday of Easter – Sunday of Divine Mercy
“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.” We gather on this second Sunday of Easter to recall God’s infinite love for the human race. In response to the Father’s love for us, let us return to Him the sacrifice of Praise that He first gave us. When we could not rescue ourselves, the Son who did not know sin, took to himself our sin so that we could be clothed in His holiness. He who was rejected by men stretched out his arms to welcome us into the Kingdom of His Father. He became the Man of Sorrows so that we might rejoice and be glad. Who would have imagined that God would take to himself our fallen nature so that we might share in His divinity?
Everything that the Church says and does, demonstrates God’s mercy for man. All of us who have been baptized have put on Christ. In him who is the Light of the world, we have been made bearers of light to a world wrapped in darkness and gloom. Because the world is wrapped in confusion, doubt, anxiety, and guilt it needs to hear the words: “Do not be afraid.” Our light should so shine to enable others to praise God with joy. He who conquered death and filled the darkness with his infinite light is our reason to rejoice and be glad. All that remains for us is to lift up our heads and see that our salvation is at hand.
Today’s gospel shows us God’s passionate love for us. Jesus Christ is divine mercy in person: Encountering Christ means encountering the mercy of God. We have only to consider how Christ lovingly accommodated himself to Thomas rather than allow him to remain in his unbelief. As we ponder the encounter between Jesus and Thomas, we can experience the fullness of God’s mercy. I am reminded of these words taken from the prophet Jeremiah: “You seduced me, Lord, and I let myself be seduced. You were too strong for me, and you prevailed” (Jer. 20:7). For those who surrender to God’s seductive love and mercy, there is no sin so terrible that it cannot be overcome by Divine Mercy. Sin and death have no power that the crucified and risen Lord cannot overcome. If we, like Thomas, place our hands in the hands of Christ, we will be brought to the fullness of life and healing.
“For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and the whole world.” Saint John Paul II put it most beautifully, “The Cross is the most profound bowing down of the Divinity towards man … the Cross is like a touch of eternal love on the most painful wounds of humanity’s earthly existence… Apart from the mercy of God, there is no other source of hope for mankind .” (JP II, August 17, 2002). Today the church invites us to place ourselves in the merciful hands of Christ, asking him to increase our faith and free us from our sins. Christ’s wounds are open channels between him and us, shedding mercy upon our misery. His wounds are the pathways that our Heavenly Father has opened up for us to enter into his tender love. Through his holy and glorious wounds, we can actually “touch” who he is. As we place our fingers into the marks of the nails, may the Lord heal the wounds of our minds, heart, and soul. As we put our hands into Christ’s side, may he grant us a resting place where we can be with him close to the heart of the Father. It is there, near to the heart of Christ that we will find all separations and estrangements healed. Through the mystery of this wounded Heart, the restorative tide of God’s merciful love continues to flow over all people. The beams of Mercy radiating from the heart of Christ open the doors of our hearts and allow us to express closeness to those who are lonely or marginalized. The flames of Mercy consume the heart and enable us to give freely of what we have received.
“Jesus, I trust in you.” The risen Jesus appeared to his disciples and gave peace to their troubled hearts and comforted their fears. He who is Risen from the dead brought about the resurrection of the disciples. To them, Christ showed his wounded hands and heart, the inexhaustible source of light and truth, of love and forgiveness. He raised them up with mercy. Having received mercy, they become ministers of mercy in turn. When he breathed out his spirit on them, Jesus commissioned them to be writers of the Gospel and heralds of the Good News to all people. Whenever we offer a word of encouragement to a brother or sister in doubt or confusion, we become instruments of God’s tender mercy and compassion. Christ, who for love for fallen mankind entered through doors barred by sin, death, and the powers of hell, desires to enter into each one of us to break open the locked doors of our hearts. Christ who rose from the dead and conquered death by death has overcome the fear and dread which holds us captive. In his mercy, all of our infirmities find healing. His mercy reaches all our wounds and heals them. Mercy is the core of the Gospel message. If we accept the mercy of God, then we will be able to offer something new to the world.
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.