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Welcome to “Divine Mercy Sunday!”

Thanks to Saint Pope John Paul II this Sunday, the Sunday after Easter, we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday! On the Second Sunday of Easter of the Jubilee Year 2000, at the Mass for the Canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska, Saint Pope John Paul II declared the Sunday after Easter be called “Divine Mercy Sunday.”

St. Faustina, a religious sister in Poland of The Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. She received visions from Jesus, including one of Jesus wearing a white garment with beams of red and white coming from His heart, which came to be known as the image of Divine Mercy. She wrote in her diary that Jesus said to her:

I want the Image to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it…
My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy.

According to the vision, those who receive communion and attend confession on the Feast of Mercy receive total forgiveness of sins.

Pope John Paul II discussed the significance of the image of Divine Mercy in his homily for the canonization of St. Faustina:

From that Heart [of Christ], Sr. Faustina Kowalska, the blessed whom from now on we will call a saint, will see two rays of light shining from that heart and illuminating the world. “The two rays”, Jesus Himself explained to her one day, “represent blood and water” (Diary, entry 299).
Blood and water! We immediately think of the testimony given by the Evangelist John, who, when a soldier on Calvary pierced Christ’s side with his spear, sees blood and water flowing from it (see Jn 19:34). Moreover, if the blood recalls the sacrifice of the Cross and the gift of the Eucharist, the water, in Johannine symbolism, represents not only Baptism but also the gift of the Holy Spirit (see Jn 3:5; 4:14; 7:37-39).

Divine Mercy Sunday focuses on the gift of mercy and love given through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. As Pope John Paul II stated, “Divine Mercy reaches human beings through the heart of Christ crucified.”

And so, just one week after Easter Sunday, still within the Octave of Easter, we meditate on the mercy of Jesus for you, for me, for all of us. And, we are called to become more like Jesus every time we come to the Eucharist. We become who we eat! So, how do we imitate him with his divine mercy? We show mercy to others! Showing mercy is an action of courage and strength; it is neither cowardly nor weak. As we pray to the Divine Mercy chaplet today or this week, to whom do we need to show mercy? Who do we offer the Diviner Mercy chaplet for and then offer Mercy towards? A challenging lesson and a most important one in our current time.