St. Gregory of Nazianzen called the Second Sunday of Easter (Octave or Eight Day of Easter) as “the birthday of salvation”; St. Augustine as “the compendium of mercy”; and St. Thomas Aquinas as “the second perfection of Easter.” Then, on April 30, 2000, as he canonized St. Faustina, St. John Paul II named the Second Sunday of Easter as “Divine Mercy Sunday.” The pope explained that this day is “the Sunday of Thanksgiving for all the goodness that God has shown us in the whole of the Easter Mystery.”
Jesus’ death and resurrection make it possible for Him to breathe on the disciples and give them the Holy Spirit for the ministry of forgiveness of sins (cf vv-22-23), as Jesus promised in the farewell discourse at the first Holy Thursday (cf Jn 16:7-11). God’s merciful and forgiving love through the Risen Jesus touches Thomas the doubter first, as if to assure us that no fault or failure is to too great for God. God’s love and mercy is greater than our sins.
Jesus is the King of Mercy by His cross and resurrection. The devotional image is that of the risen Jesus appearing before a closed door, showing the wounds of his crucifixion as He raises his right hand in a gesture of blessing. Risen from the dead Jesus comes to the disciples gathered behind locked door and greets them, “Peace be with you,” – a greeting which solemnly and profoundly reveals joy and forgiveness.
The Feast of the Divine Mercy sums up Lent and Easter, proclaiming mercy as the perfect fruit of the whole paschal mystery of Christ’s passion, death, and Resurrection.
Happy Feast Day of the Divine Mercy to all!