Divine Mercy Sunday Homily and Video Recording of Mass

Fr. Bart reflects on Divine Mercy Sunday in his homily

Divine Mercy Sunday[Click to view a recording of the April 19, 2020 Mass.]

On April 30, 2000, Pope John Paul II declared the Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday. He made this declaration during the canonization ceremony of a Polish nun, Saint Mary Faustina Kowalska, who had in her lifetime amazing revelations of the Divine Mercy. One of the requests that Christ made in one of these revelations was that this Sunday be reserved to honor and commemorate God’s infinite mercy. 

We see this mercy revealed in today’s readings. We see it in the reaction Christ showed to his chosen Apostles, who had abandoned him in his most difficult hour, but Jesus was not going to abandon them. He passed through locked doors, passing through their fears, regret, and guilt and appears to them. He hasn’t given up on them but brings them his peace and reaffirms their mission to spread the Gospel, the message of the Kingdom. 

We see God’s mercy in Christ’s reaction to the men who had crucified him. He does not crush them in revenge but sends his Apostles out to tell them and the whole world that even though they had crucified their God, they can be redeemed, that God had not condemned them. He empowers his Apostles and the Church with a powerful weapon. He delegates to them his divine power to forgive sins: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them and whose sins you retain are retained.”  He instituted the sacraments of Penance and Confession, the ultimate revelation of Divine Mercy!

The Apostle Thomas also experienced this mercy most dramatically. He was not with the Apostles when Jesus appeared to them. It seems that he was either mad that Jesus had failed and was brooding over this or he may have been someone who needed to mourn a loss alone in solitude. It was hard for him to even accept the news of the Resurrection. He needed concrete proof. Jesus, returning a week later, once again wishes the Apostles his peace and then turns to Thomas and invites him to touch his wounds and no longer doubt but believe. Thomas falls on his knees and recognizong that Jesus had come down to his level, proclaims: “My Lord and my God!”. He is the first to proclaim his faith in Christ’s divinity.

What does this boundless mercy do for us in our present troubled times? What does Christ want it to do?

It can give us peace of heart. In coping with this COVID-19 pandemic, we can feel anxiety, frustration, and stress. It is not hard to become a “doubting Thomas”, questioning where is God in all this. We can have doubts about the power and goodness of God. It may trouble us to think this way and to question our faith, but this gives us an opportunity to deepen our faith.

I believe that to have faith we have to have some doubt. This may sound contradictory but if we had total certitude we would not need faith! When we suffer and give into anxiety, frustration, and stress, we are suffering the “Doubting Thomas” syndrome. The revelation of God’s mercy and the eternal love that he has for us is what we need at this time. The decision we make to believe may not take away the emotional response we have at this time but by admitting we believe, we can hear Jesus in his mercy say: “Peace be with you!” I pray that you receive this peace.   

Divine Mercy Prayers and Reflections during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Litany to the Divine Mercy is a fitting reflection and prayer on this Divine Mercy Sunday (April 19), as we struggle with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Read about and consider participating in a Divine Mercy 3 O’Clock Prayer, the Hour of Mercy, from the Sisters of Merciful Jesus. You can listen to this litany hereClick here for additional prayers and resources for healing and hope.

Tags: Divine Mercy Sunday, Second Sundy of Easter Homily, Fr. Bart, Saint Mary Faustina Kowalska, Sister Faustina

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