April 7, 2024

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

ALLELUIA! Today, we gather to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, the Octave Day of Easter, a time when the Church continues to revel in the joy of the Resurrection. This day is a profound reminder that the Paschal mystery, which culminates in Christ’s triumph over death, is so monumental that it transcends a single day of celebration, inviting us into a week-long meditation on its significance.

Instituted by Pope John Paul II in the year 2000, Divine Mercy Sunday draws from the revelations to St. Faustina Kowalska, a humble Polish nun who, in the 1930s, was chosen by Christ to relay His message of mercy towards humanity. This message, foundational to today’s celebration, serves as a beacon of hope for all.

St. Faustina’s visions of the two rays of light, symbolizing blood and water from Christ’s Sacred Heart, remind us of the Eucharist and Baptism’s gifts, underscoring the ongoing act of Divine Mercy that washes over and renews humanity across all generations. It is here, in her encounters with Jesus, that we are invited to frequently pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. This prayer is not just a devotion but a profound way to contemplate the mystery of God’s mercy in our own lives.

Reflecting on today’s Gospel (John 20:19-31), where the Risen Lord imparts peace and the Holy Spirit to His disciples, we see a direct call to become vessels of His boundless mercy. This narrative, especially Jesus’ compassionate response to Thomas’ doubt, highlights mercy’s role in transforming uncertainty into faith.

Pope Francis, in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, eloquently states, “The Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven, and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.” (n. 114). This directive inspires us to live out the message of Divine Mercy not only within our church but in our broader community.

In this spirit, I wish to highlight the Divine Mercy Prayer Group in our parish. Meeting weekly to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet in Spanish around stunningly decorated images of The Divine Mercy, the group inspires us not only by their beautiful prayers, but also by their ministry that exemplify the mercy of Christ in action, from visiting the sick to engaging in volunteer and charitable works. I wholeheartedly endorse and recommend this prayer group to everyone.

On this special day, I am also personally reminded of the powerful example set by my own parents for many years. The image of my mom and dad, united in prayer, faithfully reciting the Divine Mercy Chaplet each day at 3PM in the tranquility of our home, is an indelible memory. Their unwavering commitment to this prayer has deeply influenced my faith journey.

As we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, let the words “Jesus, I trust in you!” inspire us to embrace and share God’s mercy within our families, workplaces, and communities, becoming beacons of hope and carriers of His unfailing love.

In Christ’s merciful love,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham