Happy Easter! Alleluia! He is risen! Indeed He is risen! Alleluia!
As the Octave of Easter comes to a close, we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is impactful and tremendous to the point of it being eight days long, and since it is still Easter, I want to express my deep and profound gratitude to the many who helped with our Holy Week liturgies, especially in the Sacred Triduum and for Easter. I always love walking into a church around Easter, seeing and especially smelling the Easter lilies, hyacinths, hydrangeas, and daffodils.Thank you to those who decorated the churches beautifully for Easter. Thank you to all involved in music, adding to the solemnity of the Triduum liturgies and adding joy to the Easter Masses. Thank you to our lectors, proclaiming the Word of God, and thank you to our servers, who served at the altar well when much was different. Thank you to everyone who helped with logistics, details, and organizing everything. Looking back, all of the Holy Week liturgies and Masses were powerful and fruitful and ran smoothly, and that is a testament to all who helped make them happen.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, today is Divine Mercy Sunday. On a side note, the name of the title character from Victor Hugo's novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasimodo, comes from this Sunday. Before the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, this Sunday was known as Quasimodo Sunday because the traditional Introit (Entrance Antiphon) begins with the Latin words quasi modo. Near the beginning of the Third Millenium, Pope St. John Paul II declared this Sunday as Divine Mercy Sunday.
Our gospel reading today features Doubting Thomas, but it also features our Lord Jesus Christ appearing the disciples locked in a room out of fear. Perhaps their fear is due to potential repercussions from the crowds and from the Jewish and Roman authorities. Maybe even more so their fear comes from the thought of possible repercussions from Jesus. When Jesus appears to them—having passed through walls and locked doors—He does not speak words of revenge, anger, or even disappoint. Jesus' first words to the disciples after His Resurrection are, “Peace be with you.” Christ's disciples denied knowing Him and fled as He was arrested, and Jesus responds with “peace,” shalom in Hebrew. This is incredible mercy!
Pope St. John Paul II declared this Sunday as Divine Mercy Sunday, in part because of the gospel reading and largely in part because of the revelations of Divine Mercy given by our Lord to St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun. Those revelations can be found in her Diary of Divine Mercy. From this, we have the Divine Mercy novena and Chaplet of Divine Mercy. This is late notice, but on Divine Mercy Sunday (today) at St. Mary of the Snows, there will be Eucharistic Adoration and Confessions from 2-3pm, with recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy beginning at 3pm, with Benediction after the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Come and experience God's mercy in a powerful way!
We are saints under construction, receiving Divine Mercy and sharing Divine Mercy with others! Have a great week and happy Easter! Alleluia!