Today, Second Sunday of Easter, we celebrate a very special occasion. As officially announced by then Pope John Paul II, now, St. John Paul II during the canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska in the year 2000, the Second Sunday of Easter is especially devoted for the celebration of the Divine Mercy. On this special day we remember and thank God for allowing us to experience his infinite mercy through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His Only Begotten Son, our Lord and Savior.
In her diary, St. Faustina Kowalska, the Apostle of Divine Mercy, writes these words of Jesus for us, “Proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God. All the works of My hands are crowned with mercy.” Indeed, this is the attitude of God towards us: His Divine Mercy is what makes Him persistent in finding each of us, his lost sheep. Through His Divine Mercy he will do whatever it takes to find us. We just need to cast off our doubts and believe in Him so that He may carry us back to His flock. Yes. Our personal response, a positive response to God’s efforts in saving us is decisive. And it starts in believing in Him.
In our gospel, John tells us that the disciples were hiding inside a room because of their fear of the Jews. Perhaps they were afraid that they might also be persecuted just like their Master or maybe because they already lost their faith in Jesus and did not know how to defend themselves from the accusations of the Jews. Their fear has confined them inside a room. Though they were already told that the Lord has indeed risen from the dead by Mary Magdalene, the disciples were skeptical. Thus, they became more terrified because of their doubt and weakened faith. However, even if the door was locked, Jesus was able to enter in. He came in, stood before them and greeted them with Shalom (Peace be with you). Shalom is a Hebrew word for peace. Its meaning however is not just about an absence of war and strife but transcends the physical sphere. For Hebrew people, Shalom is about completeness, wholeness or perfection in the divine. And so when Jesus greeted them with shalom, He was actually blessing them completeness from a life lacking with hope and faith; he was blessing them with a newness of life as they were made whole again through His resurrection. That is why upon seeing Jesus and hearing these words, the disciples were once again filled with great joy and their faith has been restored. And so Jesus told them, “As the father has sent me, so I send you.”
Now that they have regained their faith and freed them their fear, Jesus is sending them again to the open in order to continue their mission: to proclaim the good news of salvation in Him who rose from the dead and defeated death. But this time they will now “walk by faith” courageously.
In our celebration today of the Divine Mercy, we remember and thank the Lord for the great mercy that He has given us. That in spite of our frailty, in spite of our ungratefulness and sinfulness, Jesus did not, and does not give up on us; He continues to show us his love and mercy; He is ever persistent in entering into our “locked hearts” to give us peace.
Remember, no sins, no matter how grave they are, could ever hinder His love to penetrate us.
The Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ is no wonder the greatest manifestation of God’s loving mercy for all of us. Through Him, we have all been redeemed from sins and given new life and faith in Him. And now, just like the disciples, we, are all being sent by Our Lord in his name to announce to the whole world His greatest gift for all: His great love, His Divine Mercy.
May we continue to be advocates and instruments of God’s mercy, and strive, through the help of God’s grace, to be merciful just like our merciful Father in heaven.
- COMBIBLIA - Fr. Emil Valeza