We have now been celebrating Easter and the resurrection of Jesus for eight days, this is because Easter is such a joyful feast that we need more than one day in order to celebrate it properly. We call this time of celebration the Easter Octave, the eight days of Easter, which runs from Easter Sunday to the following Sunday. The Last Sunday of the Easter Octave is formally called “Low Sunday”, but since St. John Pall II promulgated the feast of Divine Mercy, the eighth day of Easter is now known as “Divine Mercy Sunday”.
The feast of Divine Mercy fits well within the great celebration of Easter, as it acts like a capstone, rounding off the octave celebration. It draws our attention to the true magnitude of God’s love for us. Everything that Jesus went through, and the great victory that Jesus won for us over death, so that we might have access to the great font of God’s merciful love. Jesus who is our “Victor King”, has opened the door to God’s mercy by offering himself to the Father in our stead. Jesus took on what we deserved so that we might receive something that we could never earn, for the charity of God’s mercy is his free charity gift that he lavishes upon those who ask for this great gift.
As I was contemplating this great feast of God’s merciful love it dawned on me that the gift of God’s mercy is often accompanied with a multitude of other graces. The devotion of Divine Mercy has a prayerful phrase of which it is well known, “Jesus I Trust In You”. This prayerful phrase when prayed is a sign of the cardinal virtue of Hope at work in our life, and when we are immersed in this gift of Hope we automatically share in the gift of peace that God offers to those who love him. When we truly trust we are at peace. Each time we come to Mass we affirm this trust in God on multiple occasions, the peace of God is offered on many occasions, and we respond with “and with your spirit”. When we participate in this prayerful dialogue, we accept the gift of peace, and in doing so actively demonstrate our trust in God. In doing so we make ourselves open to receive all the good things that God wants to give us. Therefore, we are more able to receive the love that God wants to pour into our lives. Divine Mercy Sunday is the spiritual cherry on the cake, a celebration of the superabundance of God’s love for us, and a celebration of joy for all the mercy that God has given and will pour out upon those who approach with open hearts.
Fr Tony King-Archer