The Octave of Easter, traditionally known as “White Sunday” because of the white garments of the neophytes which were then laid aside as they went out to proclaim their newfound faith to the world, is in our day more popularly known as Mercy Sunday, thanks to the revelations of Our Lord to St Faustina Kowalska. Whereas the traditional liturgical texts insist upon the virtue of faith which is reaffirmed by the victory of Christ over death in the Resurrection and which is truly the victory which overcomes the world and the prince of this world, as St John tells us in the Epistle of this day, the concept of Divine Mercy has always been at the heart of this liturgical season. Indeed, today’s Gospel tells us of the Saviour’s apparition to the Apostles in the Cenacle on the evening of the first Easter, offering them His peace, breathing on them, and transmitting the gift of the Holy Ghost: “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven; whose sins you shall retain, they are retained”.
The sacraments of Baptism and Penance are indeed the two main sources of Divine Mercy which is poured out on the world through that human mediation of the sacraments of the Church: accepting to humble oneself and be washed from sin through the waters of Baptism, or through the humble confession of one’s sins in the sacrament of Penance. In both cases, mercy is dependent upon an act of humility; it takes a soul conscious of its need for help, admitting its sinfulness and begging for help. Whenever that happens, Divine Mercy is poured out, and souls are brought to God.
So, as we consider once again this all-precious gift of Divine Mercy, let us ask ourselves if we have the proper disposition it requires: are we among those humble souls who know with certitude that they can do nothing, and that without the grace of God we are lost? Or are we among those who think they are “OK” and who, in the end, don’t really need mercy, and therefore don’t get it? Mercy implies misery, and one has to be conscious of one’s misery in order to plead for mercy.
If it is true the our world is more in need of mercy than it has ever been, is it not also true that it has never been more self-sufficient, proud, and closed to that Mercy? In that case, let us begin today to get down on our knees and acknowledge that we are not “OK”, that without the grace of God we can do nothing. Let us run to the Mother of Mercy and ask her to smile upon us and to take us in her arms and lead us to the Omnipotent Saviour: if we do, we can be sure that Mercy will be ours.