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Scripture Reflections - April 11
Divine Mercy Sunday

Acts 4:32-35
1st Letter of John 5:1-6
John 20:19-31

Archives Msgr Paul E. Whitmore
Msgr. Paul E. Whitmore

Today, the Second Sunday of Easter, we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday throughout the world. Not only do we celebrate the appearance of the Resurrected Lord to the Apostles in the upper room, but, at a much later time in history, his appearance to a simple Polish nun, Sister Maria Faustina Kowalski, on Feb. 22, 1931. She saw the Lord clothed in white with red and pale rays shining out from his heart. He said to her:

“Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and (then) throughout the world.
I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over (its) enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I, myself, will defend it as my own glory”.

The name of God is mercy. It is his identity card. Mercy is the core of the Gospel message. Mercy is the face of God in the Old Testament, but much more in God’s son, Jesus, who came for sinners and those who knew they were sinners. Mercy is the reason for the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession).

What is the connection between the Resurrection event which we continue to celebrate today, and God’s mercy? We can look at how mercifully Our Savior treated those who abandoned him, or, like Peter, actually denied him. We can look at those like Thomas who strongly doubted until Jesus stretched out his wounds for him to see. Jesus’ first words to his disciples huddled in fear in the upper room was “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Instead of condemning them for being so cowardly, he commissioned them to lead His Church. There is God’s Mercy!

How about us? We are all sinners who have disappointed the Master. Yet, again and again, Jesus pours his mercy on all of us, forgives us, and sends us to build his Church through forgiveness, love and courageous witness to his truth. Today, we are urged to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet in reparation and atonement for the sins and outrages of the whole world against God’s love.

In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we see the effects of Jesus’ gift of his mercy to his followers. They were then filled with the spirit of reconciliation and peace through their faith in Jesus as their Savior. Their community was likewise filled with mutual respect, love and forgiveness. Because they had received God’s mercy, they in turn extended mercy to all their brothers and sisters. Our prayer is for God’s mercy on our sinful world. We also pray the same spirit will restore an end to the pandemic and bring the unity and peace to our world we so earnestly desire.

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