What is crucial for us to embrace right now is what the good Pope John said at his deathbed: “My time on earth is drawing to a close. But Christ lives on and continues his work in the Church.” I look at these two holy people and do you know what I see? I see my Risen Lord, Jesus Christ who accomplished his work in these two men. In the media you can hear that today’s canonization is an historic event. What else could unbelievers say? We who believe say: “Christ was there in the lives of those Popes! It is he who did these great things in them!”
I love the Octave of Easter as it is unpacking the appearances of the Risen Jesus to his disciple. Today’s canonization fits into this Octave perfectly. When you admire a piece of art: a painting, a sculpture etc. you think about the artist who produced such an item. When we look at our saints we think about the Almighty who produced them by his grace. Some people say that Pope John XXIII opened the windows of the Vatican for the Holy Spirit and then there was such a draught that it blew Pope John Paul II out of the Vatican and made him a flying Pope. I like this saying not only because it is funny but because it highlights the presence and he work of the Holy Spirit.
My Sisters and Brothers in faith!
In the Year 2000, at the outset of the New Millennium, John Paul II canonized Sister Faustina Kowalska who devoted her life to glorifying and spreading the message of Divine Mercy. It was the Second Sunday of Easter like today and for the first time it was celebrated in the Church as Divine Mercy Sunday, as the Holy Father instituted the feast then. In 2005 on the vigil of the Divine Mercy Sunday John Paul II passed away. Divine Mercy Sunday of 2005 was an unusual in its expression as the pilgrims and citizens of Rome gathered for the first public Mass for the repose of Soul of the deceased Pontiff. It was as if John Paul had brought the Church up to the throne of mercy of Jesus and then stepped aside to make the Merciful Lord shine in all his splendor.
As we gather to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday 2014 the Holy Church shows us the splendor of Jesus’ mercy shining through those two saintly Popes. They are saints, it means everything in them tells of the glory of the Lord who accomplished his great work in them. The wounded Christ who came to his Apostles that evening of the first Sunday of Easter and then returned again on the following Sunday which was the first Divine Mercy Sunday. I take full responsibility for calling that Sunday when the Lord came to Thomas, Divine Mercy Sunday, because Christ the Lord, our Merciful Saviour, cares about each single soul. He showed it then. That’s why he came back to the Upper Room for the sake of one soul – Thomas, because he couldn’t stand Thomas dwelling in darkness of disbelief. Wrongly we call him doubting Thomas because in fact he is the first believer. St John the Evangelist and the Beloved Apostle of Jesus recorded that it was Thomas who as the first man addressed Jesus in the way that was reserved to God the Almighty. By saying: “My God and Lord” Thomas became the first of many who have acknowledged Jesus as their God and Lord. It wouldn’t happen if the Risen Lord didn’t return to show himself to the Apostle who missed him at the first visit.
Divine Mercy it is the expression of the love the Most Holy Trinity has for us. This love is so strong that the King of the Universe crosses the valleys and highlands to reach out to those who are miserable because of their sins and lack of faith. He is coming down to us as this Image of Divine Mercy shows us. Every time I gaze upon it I feel that the Lord is going to leave the frame of the painting, that he is going to step out of the picture as his everlasting love draws him to us - miserable inhabitants of this world. This image reminds us that because of Christ’s coming to us we can move from our miserable condition to the stage of faith like it happened with Thomas.
Jesus I trust you.
If I couldn’t trust you I wouldn’t trust anybody.
Jesus I trust you.