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Divine Mercy Sunday today
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Today is Divine Mercy Sunday for Catholics around the world.  Launched by Pope John Paul II, inspired by revelations to a Polish nun in the 1930s, and centered on the manifestation of God’s grace and compassion through the Risen Lord, this devotion and way of life brings light to the darkness of alienation, misunderstanding, indifference, hatred, and systemic violence.

That is, it’s tailor-made for our times.  Christ-centered, focusing on the open heart of Jesus, and taking the message of mercy into our homes and our communities, this set of teachings reminds of that by the Blood of the Lamb we have been redeemed.  By His wounds, we have been healed.

And by receiving and living His compassion, we fulfill the greatest of all the commandments: to love one another as He has loved us (John 15:12).

“Well, that’s obvious,” you may be saying.  It is.  But unfortunately, some fundamental Christian doctrines seem easily to be forgotten, or twisted in such a way that they no longer resemble the words of the Incarnate God.

And so Christians are at times anything but ambassadors of compassion.

Mercy does not mean “anything goes” and all moral truth is relative, but it does require that we recognize, defend and promote the dignity of all God’s creatures, above all of every human being, whatever his or her condition.

To learn of the extensive messages and applications of the Divine Mercy devotion, just go online.  What may seem altogether too simple is actually a rich, complex, and multi-faceted invitation to the Heart of the Gospel and to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.  You won’t be disappointed.

What I find most compelling in this devotion is what the scriptures claim to have been the most convincing proof that Jesus was risen from the dead.

It’s the access we have to God’s open Heart through the wounds of Jesus.

The gospels relate again and again how many who heard the news that the Lord had risen did not believe, and how even his closest disciples in some cases didn’t recognize him, even when He stood right there beside them.

The apostle Thomas had the gall to say, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in His hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into His side, I will not believe!” (John 20:25).  A week later, Jesus appeared again and gave Thomas what he demanded.  “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and have yet believed.” (20:29).  In this and other passages, seeing Jesus’ body and even His face is not enough.  “Seeing Him” means much more: it means entering the merciful Heart of God by means of Jesus’ still-open wounds.