Pastor’s Letter, April 23rd, 2017: Living the Mystery of Divine Mercy
For this Sunday of Divine Mercy, I offer you this meditation from the
Magnificat: Living the Mystery of Divine Mercy.
Every year in celebrating Easter we relive the experience of the first disciples of
Jesus, the experience of the encounter with him Risen: The Gospel of John tells
that they saw him appear in their midst in the Upper Room on the evening of the
very day of the Resurrection, the first day of the week, and subsequently eight days
later (Jn 20 :19, 26). That day, later called the Lord’s Day, was the day of the
assembly of the Christian community which gathered for its own devotion, that is,
to the Eucharist, a new form worship which from the outset differed from the
Judaic worship of the Sabbath. Indeed, the celebration of the Lord’s Day is a very
strong proof of Christ’s Resurrection, for only an extraordinary and overwhelming
event could have induced the first Christians to begin a form of worship that
differed with regard to the Jewish Sabbath.
Then, as today, Christian worship is not only a commemoration of past events nor
even a specific, inner mystical experience; rather, it is essentially an encounter
with the Risen Lord who lives in the dimension of God beyond time and space,
and yet becomes really present amidst the community, speaks to us in the Sacred
Scriptures and breaks the bread of eternal life for us.
It is through these signs that we relive what the disciples experienced, that is, the
event of seeing Jesus and at the same time of not recognizing him; of touching his
body, a real body and yet free from earthly bonds.
What the Gospel says is very important: namely that Jesus, in his two appearances
to the Apostles gathered in the Upper Room, repeats several times the greeting:
Peace be with you (Jn 20:19, 21, 26). Here, the traditional greeting with which
people wish one another shalom, peace, becomes something new: it becomes the
gift of the peace that Jesus alone can give because it is the fruit of his radical victory
The “peace” that Jesus gives to his friends is the fruit of the love of God which led
him to die on the cross, to pour out all his Blood, as a meek and humble lamb full
of grace and truth (Jn 1:14).
For this reason Blessed John Paul II chose to call this Sunday after Easter Divine
Mercy, with a very specific image: that of Jesus’ pierced side from which blood
and water flowed, according to the account of an eyewitness, the Apostle John (cf.
Jn 91:34-37). However Jesus is now Risen and Paschal sacraments of baptism and
the Eucharist flow from him, who is alive: those who receive them with faith
receive the gift of eternal life.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us accept the gift of peace which the Risen Jesus
offers us; let us allow our hearts to be filled with his mercy! In this way, with the
power of the holy Spirit, the Spirit who raised Christ from the dead, we too can
bring these Easter gifts to others. May Mary most holy obtain this for us.
-Pope Benedict XVI