Second Sunday of Easter
Divine Mercy Sunday
The disciples, who largely abandoned Jesus, were the first to experience God’s forgiveness at Easter. Easter is about the transformation and empowerment that comes from the depths of God’s mercy. Through faith we also experience inner-renewal as we embrace God’s forgiveness of our sins from which new and eternal life flows. This liberates, this empowers; this sets us free!
The celebration of Divine Mercy is a celebration of the forgiveness of sins flowing from the Easter event – if you like, flowing from the side of Christ on the Cross. It is depicted by the well-known image of Divine Mercy with the inscription, “Jesus I trust in you.” And we are well advised to trust in our merciful Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Yes, there is an infinite abyss between the All Holy God and us—creatures, wounded, broken people, sinners. Divine Mercy refers to God overlooking this abyss of our nothingness and unworthiness, and yet calling us to share in God’s life at the cost of his own Sons’ life. What God has done is unfathomable. There is no motive for this other than love.
It doesn’t matter to what extent we have fallen into sin. Relative to the Holiness of God not one of us is just, not one of us is worthy ... except Jesus whom we crucified. And Jesus, having suffered everything for us—his heart only finds relief when we turn to receive his love; to receive forgives and grace and to be reconciled with our heavenly Father.
Jesus is more than a mere bridge over the abyss between our sinfulness and the holiness of God, he is the one who has loved us the most. Putting our trust in him means we seek to be washed of our sins at baptism by the living water flowing from the side of Christ, and yearn to partake of the Eucharist, for which the blood is a symbol of.
This mystery is such that we can always enter more deeply and thus be more interiorly transformed by the Divine Mercy.
So today, on the feast of Divine Mercy God desires to pour out his love upon us through his Son, in a way we have never experienced before. It doesn’t matter how unworthy we are, or how guilty we feel. Easter is about forgives, transformation, and empowerment. The more we trust in God’s love for us, the more we will receive from our heavenly Father who sacrificed his only Son so we could become children of God.
John Paul II, moved by the consideration of the Father of Mercy, has willed that the Second Sunday of Easter be dedicated to recalling with special devotion these gifts of grace and gave this Sunday the name, "Divine Mercy Sunday" (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Decree Misericors et miserator, 5 May 2000).
On the 29 June 2002, the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See promulgated a decree creating new indulgences that may be gained by the faithful in connection with the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday.
I. The usual conditions for every plenary indulgence:
- sacramental confession [according to previously issued norms, within about 20 days before or after]
- Eucharistic communion [according to previously issued norms, preferably on the day, or the days before or after]
- prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff [certain prayers are not specified]
II. The specific conditions for this Indulgence
On Divine Mercy Sunday
- in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honour of Divine Mercy
- or, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!")