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This Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday and the last day of the Easter Octave. Divine Mercy Sunday is of very recent origins, as far as Church years go. This special feast was first mentioned in the Diary of St. Faustina in the 1930’s. Speaking to St. Faustina, Jesus spoke, “This Feast emerges from the very depths of My mercy, and it is confirmed in the vast depths of my tender mercies. Every soul believing and trusting in my mercy will obtain it” (Diary, 420). St. John Paul instituted Divine Mercy Sunday as a universal feast for the Catholic Church on April 30, 2000, the day that he canonized Faustina Kowalska.

Our most recent popes have heavily emphasized the importance of mercy in the life of the Church. St. John Paul II said that “mercy is the most amazing attribute of the Creator and redeemer.”  These words should not be taken lightly.  The “most amazing attribute,” WOW!  The tough, no-nonsense German Cardinal, Josef Ratzinger, Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith for 24 years, who is better known as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI off ers even more impactful words about the place of mercy in God’s saving plan, “Mercy is the name of God himself; Mercy is in reality the core of the Gospel.”

And, if that wasn’t enough, we have Pope Francis, who will probably be known throughout history as the Pope of Mercy. His papal motto is miserando et eligendo, which he translates as “mercifying and choosing.” He speaks about mercy constantly and has introduced an Extraordinary Jubilee Year (there have only been three in the history of the Church)-- The Year of Mercy, in which we are now living and ending on November 20th, 2016. It is difficult to choose a best quote of Pope Francis on mercy, as there are so many awesome ones.  This simple statement is my favorite from the current Pope, “For me, Mercy is Jesus’ most important message.”

We are truly living in an era of mercy, and in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Divine Mercy Sunday is no ordinary day. We are being invited to devote ourselves to this “most amazing attribute” of God. Let me end by encouraging you to consider prayerfully the words of Pope Francis in his prayer for the Year of Mercy: “Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman: ‘If you knew the gift of God!’” “Have mercy on us and on the whole world” (St. Faustina, Chaplet of Divine Mercy)

Ad majorem Dei gloriam,

Rev. John F. Jirak

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