What is Divine Mercy Sunday? What is Divine Mercy?
Since 2000, the second Sunday of Easter has also been known as Divine Mercy Sunday. On the Second Sunday of Easter of the Jubilee Year 2000, at the Mass for the canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska, Pope John Paul II proclaimed to the world that “from now on throughout the Church this Sunday will be called Divine Mercy Sunday.” Pope John Paul II had made “mercy” a theme of his pontificate. In 1980, he wrote an encyclical on mercy, entitled, “Rich in Mercy.” Therefore, it is not surprising that he would want a Feast in honor of God’s mercy. Why, however, did he choose the Sunday after Easter? He did this in order to highlight the fact that the Church’s liturgy is already proclaiming what God had revealed about His mercy to Faustina.
On the Second Sunday of Easter, the responsorial psalm and Gospel for Cycles A, B and C center on the theme of mercy. In Psalm 118 we sing three times, “His mercy endures forever.” The Gospel, from John 20:19-31, begins with the risen Christ appearing to the apostles on Easter night. Jesus calms his disciples by saying and giving them “Peace.” The Gospel continues: Then he (Jesus) breathes on them and explains what the Divine breathing means with the words, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” He gives the apostles the power of God’s mercy for the sinner, the gift of forgiving sins from God’s treasury of mercy.
In his sermon for the canonization, Pope John Paul II highlights Faustina’s writings on mercy, as well as our call to live the message. Here are some excerpts from a sermon given by Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the canonization of Sister Faustina Kowalska on 30 April 2000 (Vatican web site).
From the diary of a young Polish nun, a special devotion
began spreading throughout the world in the 1930s. The
message is nothing new, but is a reminder of what the
Church has always taught through scripture and tradition:
that God is merciful and forgiving and that we, too, must show mercy and forgiveness. But in the Divine Mercy devotion, the message takes on a powerful new focus, calling people to a deeper understanding that God’s love is unlimited and available to everyone — especially the greatest sinners.
The message and devotion to Jesus as The Divine Mercy
is based on the writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, an uneducated Polish nun who, in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received about God’s mercy. Even before her death in 1938, the devotion to The Divine Mercy had begun to spread.
The message of mercy is that God loves us — all of us —
no matter how great our sins. He wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy. It is a message we can call to mind simply by remembering ABC.
B — Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy
and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to
extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does
C — Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know
that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our
trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will