‘Peace be with you’ (Homily for Divine Mercy Sunday)

John 20:19-31
In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.

‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’

After saying this he breathed on them and said:

‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him:

‘You believe because you can see me.
Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’

There were many other signs that Jesus worked and the disciples saw, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.

Divine Mercy Sunday

“My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy.”

Jesus Christ to Saint Faustina Kowalska

Under the pontificate of Pope Francis we have seen the Holy Father place a great emphasis on the Mercy of God. In doing so, Pope Francis has been closely following the teaching of St Pope John Paul II, who in the Jubilee Year of 2000 named the Second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday.

By doing this St John Paul II fulfilled a request made by Jesus Christ himself during a series of mystical revelations to a polish nun named St Faustina. Divine Mercy Sunday focuses on the gift of mercy and love given through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. As Pope John Paul II stated, “Divine Mercy reaches human beings through the heart of Christ crucified.”

According to the vision, which has been approved by the Church, those who receive communion and celebrate the Sacrament of Penance (confession) on the Feast of Mercy receive total forgiveness of sins and receive a plenary indulgence.

Jesus also asked St Faustina to commission an image of himself, which you can see here. This image is connected to the gospel reading we hear at Mass this Sunday. The Divine Mercy image depicts Jesus at the moment he appears to the disciples in the Upper Room, after the Resurrection, when he empowers them to forgive or retain sins.

This moment is recorded in John 20:19-31, which is the Gospel reading for this Sunday in all three yearly Sunday liturgical cycles.

This reading is placed on this day because it includes the appearance of Jesus to the Apostle Thomas (in which Jesus invites him to touch his wounds). This event occurred on the eighth day after the Resurrection, and so it is used on the liturgy eight days after Easter.

There is so much which I could say about this beautiful feast. Let me conclude by offering you an invitation and recommending some further reading.

You are invited to join us at St Peter’s Church (Leamington Spa) for Eucharistic Adoration from 3pm – 4pm this Sunday. During adoration special Divine Mercy devotions will be prayed and I will be available to hear confessions. At 4pm I will celebrate Benediction. You can join us physically in church, or on the live-stream.

If you would like to find out more about this feast, here is a good article.

If you would like to watch a good video about the message of Divine Mercy, I can recommend this video.

I hope and pray that you are continuing to have a very Happy Easter and that you all have a blessed Feast of Divine Mercy.