Divine Mercy Sunday: Making Known His Merciful Love

On the eighth day of Easter my true love gave to me… Divine Mercy Sunday!

I am a connector – I love to see the connections between ideas, events, people etc.  When preparing to write this blog post I knew that I wanted to tie in Pope Francis’s announcement of a Jubilee year.  So I nearly jumped out of my seat when I realized something.  Today, the Second Sunday of Easter, was universally established as Divine Mercy Sunday in 2000, which was the last Jubilee year!  (maybe it’s just me that is excited about this?)

What is a jubilee?  It’s a year of mercy!  In Jewish tradition a jubilee is called every seven years.  During a jubilee year debts would be forgiven, slaves would be freed, and liberty would be proclaimed throughout the land. (cf. Leviticus 25)  As Christians we have adopted this practice in the spiritual realm.  A jubilee year carries with it special graces of pardon for our sins through a plenary indulgence, which is the complete remission of all temporal punishment for sin.

In Misericordiae Vultus, the document proclaiming this jubilee year, Pope Francis wrote: "The time has come for the Church to take up the joyful call to mercy once more."

Every year, on this last day of the Easter Octave, in which we have entered into the glory of the resurrection for a time, we celebrate a “jubilee day” – Divine Mercy Sunday.  This is so perfect because the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ was the greatest act of mercy ever.  It reveals to us just how merciful and loving our God is. 

The mission of our community is to “glorify God and make known His merciful love.”  I like to change this in my head to “glorify God by making known His merciful love.”  God is glorified when we see who He truly is.  God is love and His love is shown through His mercy.  This mission flows from our stance of being at the foot of the cross, because it is there that we receive mercy, especially through Mary, our Mother of Mercy.

We fallen humans cannot hear enough about the Lord’s mercy, because it is so hard for us to accept the gift of forgiveness, of which we are so undeserving.  St. Faustina said, “Use the strongest words to proclaim His mercy for every word falls short of how merciful He really is.”

What does it mean that the Lord is merciful?  I believe it can be summed up by Jesus' words on the cross: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  The Lord’s mercy is shown mainly through His forgiveness of our sins.  He knows our hearts and knows that we sin out of ignorance and fear.  Unlike us, He can judge rightly and have mercy rather than condemn.  Pope Francis wrote:  "Human beings, whenever they judge, look no farther than the surface, whereas the Father looks into the very depths of the soul.”

The story of the prodigal son is also a classic illustration of the Lord’s mercy.  I once heard a priest say it should be called “The Prodigal Father,” because prodigal meansrecklessly extravagant.”  Our heavenly Father is recklessly extravagant with His love and mercy.  No matter how far we have fallen into sin He is ready to welcome us with open arms.  The heart of the message of Divine Mercy given to St. Faustina is a call to trust in this mercy that is greater than any sin.

What does it mean to make known the merciful love of God?  It means to show the world that He is not a tyrant or a harsh judge, wanting to condemn us for our sins.  He is a loving Father, who knows what is best for His children and only wants them to remain close to Him.

Our God is a Father of Mercy.

Father of Mercy Chapel

- Sr. Magdala Marie Clarizio, novice

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