The Divine Mercy

Following the announcement of the beatification of Pope John Paul II we produce an excerpt from his homily on the first Divine Mercy Sunday in 2001

Let us thank the Lord for his love, which is stronger than death and sin. It is revealed and put into practice as mercy in our daily lives, and prompts every person in turn to have ‘mercy’ towards the Crucified One. Is not loving God and loving one’s neighbour and even one’s ‘enemies,’ after Jesus’ example, the programme of life of every baptized person and of the whole Church?

A great joy

With these sentiments, we are celebrating the Second Sunday of Easter, which since last year, the year of the Great jubilee, is also called ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.’ It is a great joy for me to be able to join all of you, dear pilgrims and faithful who have come from various nations to commemorate, after one year, the canonization of Sr Faustina Kowalska, witness and messenger of the Lord’s merciful love.

The elevation to the honours of the altar of this humble religious, a daughter of my land, is not only a gift for Poland but for all humanity. Indeed the message she brought is the appropriate and incisive answer that God wanted to offer to the questions and expectations of human beings in our time, marked by terrible tragedies.

Jesus said to Sr Faustina one day: ‘Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy’ [Diary, 300]. Divine Mercy! This is the Easter gift that the Church receives from the risen Christ and offers to humanity at the dawn of the third millennium.

The Gospel, which has just been proclaimed, helps us to grasp the full sense and value of this gift. The Evangelist John makes us share in the emotion felt by the Apostles in their meeting with Christ after his Resurrection. Our attention focuses on the gesture of the Master, who transmits to the fearful, astounded disciples the mission of being ministers of Divine Mercy.

He shows them his hands and his side, which bear the marks of the Passion, and tells them: ‘As the Father has sent Me, even so I send you’ [John 20.21]. Immediately afterwards, ‘He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained [John 20.22–3].

Jesus entrusted to them the gift of ‘forgiving sins,’ a gift that flows from the wounds in his hands, his feet, and especially from his pierced side. From there a wave of mercy is poured out over all humanity. Let us relive this moment with great spiritual intensity. Today the Lord also shows us his glorious wounds and his Heart, an inexhaustible source of light and truth, of love and forgiveness.

‘Jesus, I trust in You!’

This prayer, dear to so many of the devout, clearly expresses the attitude with which we too would like to abandon ourselves trustfully in your hands, O Lord, our only Saviour. You are burning with the desire to be loved and those in tune with the sentiments of your Heart learn how to build the new civilization of love. A simple act of abandonment is enough to overcome the barriers of darkness and sorrow, of doubt and desperation.

The rays of your Divine Mercyr estore hope, in a special way, to those who feel overwhelmed by the burden of sin. Mary, Mother of Mercy, help us always to have this trust in your Son, our Redeemer.

Help us too, St Faustina, whom we remember today with special affection. Fixing our weak gaze on the divine Saviour’s face, we would like to repeat with you: ‘Jesus, I trust in You!’ Now and for ever. Amen. ND