DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY: Jesus, Divine and Merciful – Towards All
In her diary, St. Faustina Kowalska, the Apostle of Divine Mercy, writes these words of Jesus for us. He says, “Proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God. All the works of My hands are crowned with mercy.” This is the attitude of God towards us: his great love and mercy for us is what makes Him persistent in finding each of us, his lost sheep, no matter what takes.
This is why we can never hide from Jesus even if we hide ourselves behind the “thick walls” of our shame, guilt, fear, forgetfulness and ingratitude. Jesus will never get tired of searching for us. He will always find us even if we hide in the darkness of our sins. Of course, we can always run from Him. But we can never hide from Him. He can, and he will always penetrate our hardened hearts in order to bring us joy and peace!
In our gospel, John tells us that the disciples were hiding inside a room be- cause of their fear of the Jews. Perhaps they were afraid that they might also be persecuted just like their Master or maybe because they already lost their faith in Jesus and did not know how to defend themselves from the accusations of the Jews. Their fear has confined them inside a room. Though they were already told that the Lord has indeed risen from the dead by Mary Magdalene, the disciples were skeptical. Thus, they became more terrified because of their doubt and weakened faith. However, even if the door was locked, Jesus was able to enter in. He came in, stood before them and greeted them with Shalom (Peace be with you). Shalom is a Hebrew word for peace. Its meaning however is not just about an absence of war and strife but transcends the physical sphere. For Hebrew people, Shalom is about completeness, wholeness or perfection in the divine. And so when Jesus greeted them with shalom, He was actually giving them completeness from a life lacking with hope and faith; he was blessing them with a newness of life as they were made whole again through His resurrection. That is why upon seeing Jesus and hearing these words, the disciples were once again filled with great joy and their faith has been restored. And so Jesus told them, “As the father has sent me, so I send you.”
Now that they have regained their faith and freed them their fear, Jesus is sending them again to the open in order to continue their mission: to proclaim the good news of salvation in Him who has risen from the dead and has defeated death. But this time they will now “walk by faith” courageously.
In our celebration today of the Divine Mercy, we remember and thank the Lord for the great mercy that He has given us. That in spite of our frailty, in spite of our ungratefulness and sinfulness, Jesus did not, and does not give up on us; He continues to show us his love and mercy; He is ever persistent in entering in our “locked hearts” to give us peace. For no sins, no matter how grave they are, could ever hinder His love to penetrate us.
The resurrection of Christ from the dead is no wonder the greatest mani- festation of God’s loving mercy for all of us. Through Him, we have all been re- deemed from sins and given new life.. And now, just like the disciples, we are all being sent by Christ in his name to announce to the whole world His gift for all: His great love, His Divine Mercy. And we are not sent not only for a certain group of people but for all people of every race regardless of their belief and status in life.