Understanding Divine Mercy Sunday

celebration of Divine Mercy. While there are many ways in which to mark this observance of Divine Mercy Sunday, and I will address some of these ways shortly, I ask that the principal focus of our observance be the Eucharistic Liturgy itself, with special attention given in the homily to preaching on Divine Mercy. The link between Divine Mercy and the Easter celebration, especially on the Second Sunday of Easter, exists on many levels. The Holy Father explains this link: The more the human conscience succumbs to secularization, loses its sense of the very meaning of the word “mercy,” moves away from God and distances itself from the mystery of mercy, the more the Church has the right and the duty to appeal to the God of mercy, “with loud cries.” These “loud cries” should be the mark of the Church of our times, cries uttered to God to implore his mercy, the certain manifestation of which she professes and proclaims as having already come in Jesus crucified and risen, that is, in the Paschal Mystery. It is this mystery which bears within itself the most complete revelation of mercy, that is, of the love which is more powerful than death, more powerful than sin and every evil, the love which lifts man up when he falls into the abyss and frees him from the greatest threats. The Scripture readings for the Second Sunday of Easter lend themselves to linking Easter and Divine Mercy since the texts highlight the forgiveness of sins. The Gospel is of Jesus appearing in the upper room and bestowing the authority to forgive sins, and the responsorial psalm for the day is the great Easter Psalm 118 which sings of the mercy of God enduring forever. The other texts speak of healing and give the assurance that there is nothing to fear. Through focusing our observance of Divine Mercy Sunday on the celebration of the Eucharistic Liturgy with special attention in the homily on Divine Mercy, we begin responding to what the Pope calls “that unique appeal addressed to the Church”: The Church lives an authentic life when she professes and proclaims mercy – the most stupendous attribute of the Creator and of the Redeemer – and when she brings people close to the sources of the Savior’s mercy, of which she is the trustee and dispenser. Of great significance in this area is constant meditation on the word of God, and above all conscious and mature participation in the Eucharist and in the sacrament of penance or reconciliation.

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