DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY
The Universal Church celebrates the second Sunday of Easter as the Divine Mercy Sunday. In the 1930’s a special devotion began spreading throughout the world – the devotion to the Divine Mercy of God. It was based on the writings of Sr. Faustina Kowalska (Sr. Faustina of Divine Mercy) that God is merciful and forgiving and that we too must show mercy and forgiveness. This devotion also calls people for a deeper understanding that God’s love is unlimited and available to everyone especially the greatest sinners. God loves everyone and He wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that whenever we call upon him with trust, we will receive mercy, and let it flow through us to others.
Pope Saint John Paul II, both in his teaching and personal life, strove to live and teach the message of Divine Mercy. In his encyclical on Divine Mercy (Dives in Misericordia November 30, 1980), as the great Mercy Pope, he wrote: "The Message of Divine Mercy has always been near and dear to me… which I took with me to the See of Peter and which, in a sense, forms the image of this Pontificate." In his writings and homilies, he has described Divine Mercy as the answer to the world’s problems and the message of the third millennium.
One of the greatest example of how St. John Paul II practiced the message of Divine Mercy can be seen from an issue of TIME magazine in 1984 that presented an amazing cover. It pictured a prison cell where two men sat on metal folding chairs. The young man wore a black turtleneck sweater, blue jeans and white running shoes. The older man was dressed in a white robe and had a white skullcap on his head. They sat facing one another, up-close and personal. They spoke quietly so as to keep others from hearing the conversation. The young man was Mehmet Ali Agca, the pope’s would-be assassin (he shot and wounded the Pope on May 13, 1981); the other man was Pope John Paul II, the intended victim. The Pope held the hand that had held the gun whose bullet tore into the Pope’s body. This was a living icon of mercy. John Paul’s forgiveness was deeply Christian. His deed with Ali Agca spoke a thousand words. He embraced his enemy and pardoned him. At the end of their 20-minute meeting, Ali Agca raised the Pope’s hand to his forehead as a sign of respect. John Paul shook Ali Agca’s hand tenderly. When the Pope left the cell he said, “What we talked about must remain a secret between us. I spoke to him as a brother whom I have pardoned and who has my complete trust.” It was a true, living example of living the words of Jesus: “Love your enemies and pray for those persecute you (Mt. 5:44)’.
The ABC’s of Divine Mercy: Ask for Mercy: God wants us to approach him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking him to pour out his mercy on us and the whole world.
Be merciful: God wants us to receive mercy and let it flow through us to others. Completely trust in Jesus: The more we trust Jesus, the more we will receive His mercy.
~Fr. Antony Skaria, CFIC