On this Divine Mercy Sunday, let us recall how the Mercy of God is shown most perfectly The Risen Lord Jesus maintains his wounds after the Resurrection. Although they may not still be hurting or pouring forth, they are there – and they are there for many reasons: first, they certify that it truly is the one and the same Lord Jesus who was crucified. They are perhaps the strongest testaments to the Lord's Resurrection, and perhaps this is why Thomas demands to touch them. But I think there is more to it than just that. The wounds of Jesus are wounds of love, and as St. Paul teaches us, “Faith, Hope, and Love endure, and the greatest of these is love.” Why should death wipe out love? Why should Resurrection make love irrelevant? They don't. Love endures, so the wounds of love endure.
Another reason this enduring love in the wounds of our Lord remains with his glorified body is because we need them to be made whole. As we hear from Isaiah on Good Friday, “By His wounds we were healed.” The wounds of Jesus' love unto the end are the healing of our wounded souls.
Now I want to share some words from our new Pope Francis about these topics. First, I want to say that I love this Pope just like the rest of us, but not for necessarily the same reasons that the media has been praising him: first pope out of Europe, speaking of the environment, talking off the cuff, and abandoning standard protocol. Rather, I admire his humility, his simple living, his natural preaching of the Gospel which so approachable, clear, and powerful. And that is what I share with you now three insights from four homilies he has recently given.
First, speaking to the city of Rome and the whole word in the Urbi et Orbi speech of March 31st, Pope Francis clearly stated that “the Mercy of God always triumphs!” In the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord, we see the Mercy of God in its highest form. This is why Jesus can bring new life to the darkness and death we experience in our lives and in our souls. As we recalled earlier, the wounds of love in Our Lord endure to be a constant source of healing for us.
Secondly, Pope Francis said very clearly that we need to trust in God's Mercy always in these words reflecting on the woman caught in adultery: God never tires of forgiving us, but sometimes we get tired of asking for forgiveness. Let us not allow our pride (in the form of shame) to keep us from God, let us seek His Mercy which is all the way to the end as we see on the Cross: He would rather die. He would rather die.
Thirdly, Pope Francis, speaking of Mary Magdalene at the tomb, noted that sometimes we need tears to be able to recognize Jesus – tears are like lenses, or glasses, through which we can see Christ. Perhaps this is another reason the wounds of our Lord remain: sorrow for our sins helps us to recognize Christ. Do we mourn the pain we cause Our Lord by our sins? Do we quickly, sincerely, and fully repent like Saint Peter after we have betrayed or denied our Lord? These tears are good, they are healthy, because they look at the truth of our situation: we need a Savior, we are broken and need healing. And from this, we can see Jesus, we can see His wounds.
The last reflection from our Pope: Despite the attempts of our world to present us with other solutions to our problems, there is really only one Savior: the Risen Jesus. “No other name under heaven by which we are saved” has been given to us, St. Peter tells us. Jesus alone is able to heal us because He is the God who Created us and the man who is with us, who shows us his wounds to call us to repentance and to give us the healing they offer.
And The Catechism tells us that this salvation is the greatest act of God. CCC 1994: Justification is the most excellent work of God's love made manifest in Christ Jesus and granted by the Holy Spirit. It is the opinion of St. Augustine that "the justification of the wicked is a greater work than the creation of heaven and earth," because "heaven and earth will pass away but the salvation and justification of the elect . . . will not pass away."43 He holds also that the justification of sinners surpasses the creation of the angels in justice, in that it bears witness to a greater mercy. All of Easter we will reflect on what the salvation and Justification mean for us who have been crucified, buried, and risen with Christ. Who have looked at His wounds, wept for our sins, and been healed.
So here's the challenge for this week: meditation on the meaning of Easter. Every day, we should reflect on one of the points of Saint Francis, or from the section of the Catechism on Grace and Justification, pars. 1987-1995. Easy way to remember that is to think of those years in your life: they were good years for me: no diapers, snap bracelets, Ninja Turtles. So look it up in your Catechism, and take one little paragraph a day to reflect on: write it down and keep it with you. Then pray. Let the Lord reveal Himself to you, and cry out with Thomas: “My Lord and My God!”
Click for Catechism on Grace and Justification