My Dear Parishioners,
I hope that you had a peace filled, spiritually beneficial, and Blessed Easter. When we celebrate the Lord’s resurrection, it is not just His personal victory over death that we celebrate, but also the fact that He has won salvation for all of us. This Second Sunday of Easter, or the eighth day of the Octave of Easter, is also known as Divine Mercy Sunday. I thought it might be important to remind ourselves about this feast. Here are some excerpts I have taken from the Divine Mercy website. You can see the full text at www.thedivinemercy.org.
The feast of Divine Mercy Sunday is the result of a revelation to St. Maria Faustina. Our Lord’s explicit desire is that this feast be celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Pope John Paul II in his homily at the canonization of St. Faustina on April 30, 2000 declared: “It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church, will be called ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.’ ”
By the words “the whole message,” Pope John Paul II was referring to the connection between the “Easter Mystery of the Redemption” — in other words, the suffering, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, followed by the sending of the Holy Spirit — and this Feast of Divine Mercy, the Octave Day of Easter, which fulfills the grace of atonement as lived through by Christ Jesus and offered to all who come to Him with trust.
As part of our devotion, we honor an image of Jesus as revealed to St. Maria Faustina (a copy is placed in our sanctuary). Pope John Paul II also made clear that the Image of The Divine Mercy St. Faustina saw, which is to be venerated on Divine Mercy Sunday, represents the Risen Christ bringing mercy to the world. Pope John Paul II said: “Jesus shows His hands and His side [to the Apostles]. He points, that is, to the wounds of the Passion, especially the wound in His Heart, the source from which flows the great wave of mercy poured out on humanity. St. Faustina saw two rays of light shining from that Heart and illuminating the world: ‘The two rays,’ Jesus Himself explained to her one day, ‘represent blood and water’ (Diary, 299).
Clearly, Divine Mercy Sunday is not a new feast established to celebrate St. Faustina’s revelations. Indeed, it is not primarily about St. Faustina at all — nor is it altogether a new feast! As many commentators have pointed out, The Second Sunday of Easter was already a solemnity as the Octave Day of Easter; nevertheless, the title “Divine Mercy Sunday” does highlight and amplify the meaning of the day. In this way, it recovers an ancient liturgical tradition, reflected in a teaching attributed to St. Augustine about the Easter Octave, which he called “the days of mercy and pardon,” and the Octave Day itself “the compendium of the days of mercy.” As Pope John Paul II pointed out in his Regina Coeli address on Divine Mercy Sunday, 1995: “the whole octave of Easter is like a single day,” and the Octave Sunday is meant to be the day of “thanksgiving for the goodness God has shown to man in the whole Easter mystery.”
God Bless You!