Second Sunday of Easter
Sunday of Divine Mercy
“I have seen the Lord!” declared Mary Magdalene. Then this Second Sunday of Easter finds the disciples gathered behind locked doors, still shaken and fearful about all that had happened since Passover. When Jesus appeared he exhorted them not to be afraid: “Peace be with you!” He showed them his wounds and said again: “Peace be with you!”
John tells us that Thomas wasn’t there. Even though everyone else said they had seen Jesus, Thomas refused to believe them. A week later when Thomas was with them, Jesus came. Again he greeted them with: “Peace be with you!” He invited Thomas to examine his wounds, knowing Thomas needed to be convinced of the truth of Resurrection. “You became a believer because you saw me. Blest are they who have not seen and have believed” (John 20: 29).
How often we cower in fear instead of trusting in Jesus’ presence in our pain, our joy, our trials, our achievements. We drown out his “Peace be with you!” with the cacophony of daily life and negative voices we allow to invade our spirits. In those moments when we do recognize the wonder of Jesus’ miracles and works in our lives, we can exclaim with Thomas: “My Lord and my God!” Then we are ready to live as the earliest disciples we find in our first reading today, Divine Mercy Sunday.
“The community of believers were of one heart and one mind. None of them claimed anything as his own; rather everything was held in common… nor was there anyone needy among them…” (Acts 4: 32, 34). Can you imagine the reaction if such behavior were encouraged today? The few politicians who have dared to speak of even minimal sharing have been excoriated as “socialists” or “communists.” Only in convents, monasteries and, perhaps, a hippie commune would we find such generosity today. Yet Pope John Paul II spoke of this very thing at the canonization of Saint Faustina Kowalska, whom he declared “witness and messenger of the Lord’s merciful love.”
“The first universal celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday occurred on April 22, 2001. From the experiences of his own life, Pope John Paul proclaimed during his homily:
‘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 toward the Crucified One. Is not loving God and loving one’s neighbor and even one’s enemies, after Jesus’ example, the program of life of every baptized person and of the whole Church?’
“It can hardly come as a surprise, then, that this apostle of Divine Mercy should die on the vigil of the feast he established, April 2, 2005, and that he be beatified on May 1, 2011 – Divine Mercy Sunday.” *
*From an article I wrote, entitled: “An Apostle of Divine Mercy for Our Time” in Diamond of the Millennium Blessed John Paul II A Cura di Father Jerome M. Vereb, C.P.