The Pastor’s Thoughts — April 16, 2023, Divine Mercy Sunday

April 11, 2023 | By Bishop Roy E. Campbell, Jr.

“Eight days later Jesus came and stood in their midst.”

Today is the 2nd Sunday of Easter. Pope Saint John Paul II on April 30, 2000, designated this Sunday as Divine Mercy Sunday. And it was on this day; nine years ago that Pope Francis canonized, the now Saints, Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II.

In our Gospel, Jesus says to His Apostles, “‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.’”

Jesus gave the Apostles His peace and sent them out to finish His work, bringing the salvation of God to all people. He also sent them to “forgive people their sins,” that is, “to give God’s Mercy to His people!” This is why our reading from the First Epistle of St. Peter starts by saying, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

God’s Mercy is no more evident than how the risen Jesus dealt with Thomas. Thomas doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead, because he had not seen it with his own eyes. His lack of faith led to his doubt. Jesus told Thomas to, “‘Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.’ Thomas answered and said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” Thomas was asking Jesus for His Mercy. Thomas’ faith in God was restored.

Today, the Universal Church celebrates Divine Mercy Sunday. We receive Jesus’ mercy in our lives, and we are called to show mercy to those around us. On April 30, 2000, Pope Saint John Paul II canonized Saint Mary Faustina Kowalska, the Polish nun who had received from Christ the amazing revelations of the Divine Mercy. During that ceremony, the pope fulfilled one of the requests that Christ had made through those revelations: that the entire Church reserve the Second Sunday of the Easter Season to honor and commemorate God’s infinite mercy.

Today, God reminds us of His infinite goodness, when He says to each of us, just as He said to His confused, frightened, and doubting Apostles two thousand years ago, “Peace be with you.” He gives us His peace, because He gives us His Divine Mercy.

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