Read last week's reflection.
April 27, 2014, Divine Mercy Sunday, will be remembered as the day that John XXIII and John Paul II were canonized by Pope Francis. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims in Rome for the ceremony will recall how two popes, each noted for proclaiming and living the greatness of God’s mercy, were first called Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II on this day. John XXIII was noted for his kindness and gentle love. John Paul II wrote the beautiful encyclical, “Rich in Mercy,” and showed Christlike mercy in forgiving the man who tried to assassinate him.
We should ponder today’s Gospel in the presence of these two saints. The apostles are hiding in an upper room. They had abandoned Jesus when he was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, and they are afraid the authorities might pursue them. Then Jesus suddenly appears to the apostles, takes away their fear with the words, “Peace be with you,” and pours out the Holy Spirit upon them. He offers them the Sacrament of Penance, God’s great gift of mercy for the forgiveness of sins.
On April 30, 2000, Pope John Paul II designated the Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday, and canonized Sister Faustina Kowalska, who had proclaimed God’s mercy by her life, writings, and words. Devotion to the Divine Mercy displayed in the painting of Christ inspired by Saint Faustina has brought comfort and peace to countless believers. Jesus stands with his right hand raised in blessing and his left hand over his heart, from which shine rays of light, red and white, symbols of the blood and water which poured from his side on the cross.
As we hear today’s Gospel proclaimed, let’s ask Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II to pray for us. Let’s ask them to make us more grateful to God for his Divine Mercy. And let’s pray with confidence to Jesus, who forgives our sins in the Sacrament of Penance: “Jesus, I trust in you.”