Sunday of Divine Mercy
April 11, 2021 — Year B
Readings: Acts 4:32-35 / Ps 118 / 1 Jn 5:1-6 / Jn 20:19-31
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
A number of years ago early in my priesthood, when I was an assistant pastor in a big church in Manilla, I was having a pastoral conversation with my pastor, Monsignor Jose, and we heard a commotion and shouting on the second floor of the church’s pastoral center. The building was adjacent to the rectory where we lived.
I ran to see what was going on, and Monsignor followed me, just walking slowly. When I got there, I saw a middle-aged woman shrieking and screaming with her mouth foaming, and being pinned down on the floor by seven men and women, but she seemed to be a lot stronger than all of them. I was reminded of one of the scenes in the movie, The Exorcist, when I saw her.
When I was about to pray over her, I saw my pastor walking towards us; Monsignor Jose is known in that town as someone who is good at driving out demons, so I let him take over. I expected him to use one of those Latin prayers for deliverance, but he prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet. At the end of the Chaplet, the woman calmed down and returned back to her normal self. Later that day, when asked about what happened, Monsignor just said, “That’s the power of the Divine Mercy. If we trust in Jesus, everything will be fine.”
Today we are celebrating the Feast of the Divine Mercy, as proclaimed by St. John Paul II. Pope Francis said that God is not just a merciful and loving God, but His name is Mercy. Hundreds of Christians all over the world experience miracles through the Divine Mercy image as revealed to St. Faustina.
Father Michael Gaitley, the author of 33 Days to Morning Glory, told a story about a particular day when his dad, who had cancer, was sitting in front of the image of the Divine Mercy in the church. After the Mass, Fr. Gaitley said that his dad told him, “That picture over there.” (Pointing to the Divine Mercy image) “You see those rays? They are doing something to me.”
Fr. Gaitley said that his father went to the doctor, who announced that his cancer was gone. And we know that there are hundreds more documented cases of miracles all over the world which are attributed to the Divine Mercy image.
But do we really need miracles of healing to justify our faith in God? Every single day there are miracles going on around us. We just have to sharpen our awareness, and at this very moment, we are witnessing a miracle bigger than our human mind can fathom. We are in front of our Lord Jesus’s Real Presence, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist.
In today’s gospel, the Lord Jesus said to Thomas, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Our Offertory song at this Mass is an expression of our identity as Christians. We proclaim that we are a group of people who “Walk by Faith, and Not by Sight.”