His Mercy Endures Forever
Today the Church celebrates “Divine Mercy Sunday” commemorating Jesus’ revelations to Saint Faustina on the Divine Mercy. Pope Saint John Paul II granted this Feast to the Universal Church on the occasion of his raising Sr. Faustina, a young Polish woman to Sainthood on April 30, 2000 and was decreed to be celebrated on the 2nd Sunday of Easter.
It is a teaching Sunday that invites us to embrace Christ’s enthronement on the Cross, his Resurrection and his multiple appearances to his seemingly disillusioned and doubting disciples as nothing, but acts of love and divine mercy towards us. The readings for this Sunday are about God’s mercy, the necessity for trusting Faith and our need for God’s forgiveness of our sins. God revealed His mercy first and foremost by sending His only-begotten Son to become our Savior and Lord by his suffering, death and Resurrection. Divine Mercy is given to us also in each celebration of the Sacraments.
On this special Sunday, the Divine Mercy Sunday, the Church continues in the joy of the risen Christ. We are called to celebrate the risen Christ the first fruit of all those who have fallen asleep, the hope and strength of Christians and the Cause of Our Joy. This Sunday, the Church reminds us that when we are faced with all sort of trials and crisis in life that what we need is an unshakeable, trusting faith in Christ’s victory.
Today’s first reading recounts the new zeal, the new love, and the new spirit of the early Christian community. A people who used to be afraid of the Jews and persecution, now have been transformed to a courageous people. They are now proud of themselves and their new heritage.
This heritage is their sharing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is the cause of their joy, love, unity and strength. This is what the resurrection of Christ did for us also. It restores our confidence as the people of God. It lifts us from the dust, and places us exactly where we belong. In short, it reinstates us and encourages us to fight fear with Faith, and trepidation about the future with trust and Hope.
In the second reading, Peter draws our attention to the mercy of God towards us. In his mercy, God has given us a new birth by allowing us to share in the resurrection of Christ: “So that we have a sure hope, and the promise of an inheritance that can never be destroyed.” So, what we celebrate this season is also God’s wonderful mercy and generosity.
Surely, our salvation is guaranteed through the resurrection of Christ. However, the necessary tool for taking this salvation according to Peter is our Faith. “Through your faith, God’s power will guard you, until the salvation which has been prepared for you is revealed at the end of time. So, only faith and good works can guarantee our salvation in the resurrected Christ through the Divine Mercy.
In today’s gospel, Christ presented himself to his disciples. During this very important visit, He dispelled their fears and doubts and restored their peace. The Gospel vividly reminds us of how Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a Sacrament of Divine Mercy and commissioned the disciples as ministers of the sacrament of reconciliation. The Risen Lord gave the apostles and their successors the power to forgive sins with the words, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained”. Presenting the doubting Thomas’ famous profession of Faith, “My Lord and my God,” the Gospel illustrates how Jesus showed mercy to the doubting apostle and emphasizes the importance of Faith.
It suffices to note that it was not easy for Thomas to believe that Christ has risen. As we witness to the risen Christ, we shall certainly encounter those (some Thomas) who will doubt our testimony. Let us not be bothered by their unbelief and stubbornness of heart. This is because God himself will convince them through the power of the Holy Spirit.
All we need is, to simply to pass on the message and leave Christ the risen Lord to convince them. So, like the Disciples of Christ, let us continue to