Divine Mercy Sunday [2nd Sunday of Easter] 2024

[Acts 4:32-35; Psalm 117; 1 John 5:1-69; John20: 19-31]

Thomas, like many of his contemporary Jews, looked for signs. His faith was based on what he could see and what he could read into the signs which he saw. I like to think that Thomas’ initial insistence on seeing evidence was not based on a lack of belief instead, I prefer to think that this was part of the grief he still had in his heart for Jesus. At that time, the only thing he knew for certain was that Jesus had died. As an apostle, he had a great hope and maybe a little less faith that Jesus would do as he had declared; and rise from the dead. While he has been dubbed doubting Thomas, I think his ‘doubt’ was more a reluctance to accept something; which after all; had never been done before, the Resurrection.

When he actually saw the Risen Christ, his declaration; without touching Jesus was an emphatic “My Lord and my God”. This great confession of faith, laid out for us by St John in his Gospel, tell us there were many other signs which also took place, but that he did not feel the need to put them into writing. Those which he did commit to writing; are the ones he thought [guided by the Holy Spirit] would help others to believe.

In the first reading St Luke tells us how the early church combined all of their belongings and used them for the benefit of the community. Today, the church is far larger in size and has many more people in community to look after. We all need to remember this when there are appeals to help others. Everything we can give can be shared out to those in more need than ourselves; and those of us unable to give; need to commit our offering; in prayer.

In the second reading St John explains how Jesus, who came in flesh and blood, and filled with the Holy Spirit, to rescue all those who commit to believing in Him. By believing, we too can be filled with the Spirit; a Spirit who is filled with the truth and bountiful gifts, These gifts help us to stay close to Jesus and can help us to resist temptation as we receive wisdom and discernment, allowing us to know right from wrong and by doing so; keeping Jesus’ commandments.

Some people may ask why today is designated as Divine Mercy Sunday? ‘In a series of revelations to St. Maria Faustina Kowalska in the 1930s, our Lord called for a special feast day to be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter.  Today, we know that feast as Divine Mercy Sunday, named by Pope St. John Paul II at the canonization of St. Faustina on April 30, 2000. 

The Lord expressed His will with regard to this feast in His very first revelation to St. Faustina. The most comprehensive revelation can be found in her Diary entry 699:

“My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and a shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day are opened all the divine floodgates through which graces flow. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My mercy.”

In all, St. Faustina recorded 14 revelations from Jesus concerning His desire for this feast. 

Nevertheless, Divine Mercy Sunday is NOT a feast based solely on St. Faustina’s revelations. Indeed, it is not primarily about St. Faustina — nor is it altogether a new feast. The Second Sunday of Easter was already a solemnity as the Octave Day of Easter[1]. The title “Divine Mercy Sunday” does, however, highlight the meaning of the day.[1]This is taken from the Divine Mercy website which can be accessed at What is Divine Mercy Sunday? | The Divine Mercy and has more information related to Divine Mercy.

Right now, the world seems to be a place without mercy. When we think of how world leaders can make decisions to attack those who are trying to provide food to fellow humans who are starving because of a genocide being unleashed against them. While only one world leader may have been involved in the actual decision to fire missiles at the convoy three times, the other world leaders who have made decisions to supply weapons to either the Israelis or to the terrorists must share some of the blame for this continued assault on a largely civilian population. Those leaders who continue to supply weapons, which are being used indiscriminately, must have a change of heart. Those leaders who fail to bring mercy to the people of Gaza must know that history will not judge them well. They must also realise that on their final day when they have to face their final judgement, how can they ask for mercy when they have denied it to others?

Further Reading

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Second Sunday of Easter

CCC 448, 641-646: appearances of the risen Christ
CCC 1084-1089: sanctifying presence of the risen Christ in the liturgy
CCC 2177-2178, 1342: the Sunday Eucharist
CCC 654-655, 1988: our new birth in the Resurrection of Christ
CCC 976-983, 1441-1442: “I believe in the forgiveness of sins”
CCC 949-953, 1329, 1342, 2624, 2790: communion in spiritual goods

What is Divine Mercy Sunday? | The Divine Mercy

 Please keep in your prayers this week

  • Those who are sick, those recovering from surgery, those who are dying, the recently deceased and those who mourn. 
  • All those struggling to feed their families at this time.
  • Those working to help others who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
  • Those discerning a vocation and those considering coming into the Catholic Church.
  • The innocent people caught up in wars and conflicts around the world, but especially those in Palestine, Israel, Ukraine, Russia, Syria and Iraq.
  • That all of our school children and staff have a good break and that they remain safe.

Deacon Tony Darroch   5th April 2024.

[1] What is Divine Mercy Sunday? | The Divine Mercy