Divine Mercy Sunday unites all in the great love of God

April 13, 2023 at 8:58 p.m.
Divine Mercy Sunday unites all in the great love of God
Divine Mercy Sunday unites all in the great love of God

By Bishop David M. O'Connell, C.M.

The most supreme act of love and mercy that the world has ever known was the Crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ celebrated by the Church throughout the world little more than a week ago on Good Friday. The consequence of that greatest love and mercy was the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. The proof of that greatest love and mercy was the empty tomb which the women found when they came that Easter morning to anoint his body.

That proof continues to unfold in today’s Gospel from St. John when the Risen Lord Jesus appears to his apostles wishing them peace, giving them the power to show mercy and forgive sins.

Today is the Second Sunday of Easter, known throughout the Catholic Church as Divine Mercy Sunday, formally established by Pope St. John Paul II in 2000. At his first celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday Mass in Rome in 2001, Pope St. John Paul II shared the words of Jesus proclaimed to Sister Faustina: 

“’Humanity will never find peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy.’ Divine Mercy! This is the Easter gift that the Church receives from the Risen Christ and offers to humanity… “(Pope St. John Paul II, “Homily for Divine Mercy Sunday,” April 22, 2001).

The Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, although individual moments in his human life, constitute one Paschal gift of God’s loving mercy!  “God so loved the world,” John’s Gospel tells us, “that he gave his only begotten son” (John 3:16).  And his Only Begotten Son so loved the world that he gave his life “so that those who believe in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (idem). And Christians continue to fulfill the Lord Jesus’s command to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34).

The idea of “Divine Mercy Sunday” did not, however, begin with Pope St. John Paul II. Its origin is rooted in the visions of the now canonized Polish nun and mystic, Sister Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), who reported having regular apparitions and conversations with the Lord Jesus who, on one occasion, told her, “This feast emerged from the very depths of my mercy, and it is confirmed in the vast depths of my tender mercies. Every soul believing and trusting in my mercy will obtain it” (“Diary of Sr. Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul,” 420). 

St. Faustina wrote in her Diary, “Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be deeds of mercy, which arise out of love for me” (Diary, 742).

On this Divine Mercy Sunday, I find great encouragement in the “Diary” of St. Faustina:

“When I see that the burden is beyond my strength, I do not consider or analyze it or probe into it, but I run like a child to the Heart of Jesus and say only one word to Him: ‘You can do all things.’ And then I keep silent, because I know that Jesus Himself will intervene in the matter, and as for me, instead of tormenting myself, I use that time to love Him” (1033, page 392).

And in another place there, she quotes the Lord Jesus who revealed to her:

“‘I am love and Mercy Itself. There is no misery that could be a match for My mercy, neither will misery exhaust it, because as it is being granted – it increases. The soul that trusts in My mercy is most fortunate, because I Myself take care of it” (1273, page 459).

We join together this Sunday, with Catholics throughout the world, to celebrate God’s mercy, “living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth, reaching its culmination in him … (who) by his words, his actions and his entire person reveals the mercy of God” (Pope Francis, “Bull of Indiction for the Year of Mercy Misericordiae Vultus,” April 11, 2015, 1).

And it is Divine Mercy which unites all Catholics together today in all the churches and parishes of the world. Let us all pray with St. Faustina, Pope St. John Paul II and one another, “Jesus, I trust in you!”


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The most supreme act of love and mercy that the world has ever known was the Crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ celebrated by the Church throughout the world little more than a week ago on Good Friday. The consequence of that greatest love and mercy was the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. The proof of that greatest love and mercy was the empty tomb which the women found when they came that Easter morning to anoint his body.

That proof continues to unfold in today’s Gospel from St. John when the Risen Lord Jesus appears to his apostles wishing them peace, giving them the power to show mercy and forgive sins.

Today is the Second Sunday of Easter, known throughout the Catholic Church as Divine Mercy Sunday, formally established by Pope St. John Paul II in 2000. At his first celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday Mass in Rome in 2001, Pope St. John Paul II shared the words of Jesus proclaimed to Sister Faustina: 

“’Humanity will never find peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy.’ Divine Mercy! This is the Easter gift that the Church receives from the Risen Christ and offers to humanity… “(Pope St. John Paul II, “Homily for Divine Mercy Sunday,” April 22, 2001).

The Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, although individual moments in his human life, constitute one Paschal gift of God’s loving mercy!  “God so loved the world,” John’s Gospel tells us, “that he gave his only begotten son” (John 3:16).  And his Only Begotten Son so loved the world that he gave his life “so that those who believe in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (idem). And Christians continue to fulfill the Lord Jesus’s command to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34).

The idea of “Divine Mercy Sunday” did not, however, begin with Pope St. John Paul II. Its origin is rooted in the visions of the now canonized Polish nun and mystic, Sister Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), who reported having regular apparitions and conversations with the Lord Jesus who, on one occasion, told her, “This feast emerged from the very depths of my mercy, and it is confirmed in the vast depths of my tender mercies. Every soul believing and trusting in my mercy will obtain it” (“Diary of Sr. Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul,” 420). 

St. Faustina wrote in her Diary, “Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be deeds of mercy, which arise out of love for me” (Diary, 742).

On this Divine Mercy Sunday, I find great encouragement in the “Diary” of St. Faustina:

“When I see that the burden is beyond my strength, I do not consider or analyze it or probe into it, but I run like a child to the Heart of Jesus and say only one word to Him: ‘You can do all things.’ And then I keep silent, because I know that Jesus Himself will intervene in the matter, and as for me, instead of tormenting myself, I use that time to love Him” (1033, page 392).

And in another place there, she quotes the Lord Jesus who revealed to her:

“‘I am love and Mercy Itself. There is no misery that could be a match for My mercy, neither will misery exhaust it, because as it is being granted – it increases. The soul that trusts in My mercy is most fortunate, because I Myself take care of it” (1273, page 459).

We join together this Sunday, with Catholics throughout the world, to celebrate God’s mercy, “living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth, reaching its culmination in him … (who) by his words, his actions and his entire person reveals the mercy of God” (Pope Francis, “Bull of Indiction for the Year of Mercy Misericordiae Vultus,” April 11, 2015, 1).

And it is Divine Mercy which unites all Catholics together today in all the churches and parishes of the world. Let us all pray with St. Faustina, Pope St. John Paul II and one another, “Jesus, I trust in you!”

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