Today, on this the last day of the Octave of Easter, the readings for the Mass focus on the mercy of God. Pope John Paul II at the canonization of St. Faustina in 2000, declared that the “Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church will be called ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.’” The feast is based on the private revelations of St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun, who recommended a particular devotion to the Divine Mercy.
In his homily on the first celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday, St. John Paul II stressed that love is the foundation of mercy, both in God’s mercy to us, His creatures and in our relationships with others:
Pure love is capable of great deeds, and it is not broken by difficulty or adversity. As it remains strong in the midst of great difficulties, so too it perseveres in the toilsome and drab life of each day. It knows that only one thing is needed to please God: to do even the smallest things out of great love — love, and always love. Pure love never errs…It is happy when it can empty itself and burn like a pure offering. The more it gives of itself, the happier it is. (Diary of St. Faustina, 140)
Jesus said to Sr. Faustina one day: “Humanity will never find peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy” (Diary, p. 132). Divine Mercy! This is the Easter gift that the Church receives from the risen Christ and offers to humanity at the dawn of the third millennium.
To end his homily, St. John Paul II said…
“Jesus, I trust in you.” This prayer, dear to so many of the devout, clearly expresses the attitude with which we too would like to abandon ourselves trustfully in your hands, O Lord, our only Saviour.
You are burning with the desire to be loved and those in tune with the sentiments of your heart learn how to build the new civilization of love. A simple act of abandonment is enough to overcome the barriers of darkness and sorrow, of doubt and desperation. The rays of your divine mercy restore hope, in a special way, to those who feel overwhelmed by the burden of sin.
Mary, Mother of Mercy, help us always to have this trust in your Son, our Redeemer. Help us too, St. Faustina, whom we remember today with special affection. Fixing our weak gaze on the divine Saviour’s face, we would like to repeat with you: “Jesus, I trust in you.” Now and for ever. Amen.
In preparation for a homily for his fourth Divine Mercy Sunday, these are the last written words of St. John Paul II, delivered by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger on the 3rd of April 2005, following the great pope’s death the previous evening…
To humanity, which sometimes seems bewildered and overwhelmed by the power of evil, selfishness and fear, the Risen Lord offers his love that pardons, reconciles and reopens hearts to hope. It is a love that converts hearts and gives peace.
This is what is needed in our families. It is through our willingness to show the love, mercy, and forgiveness of God in our relationships that we will know joy and peace in our marriages, families, and the world.
Tell [all people], My daughter, that I am Love and Mercy itself. When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls. (Diary of St. Faustina, 1074)
With the psalmist, we cry out “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his mercy endures for ever! (Ps 117:1).
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You. (Diary of St. Faustina, 186-187)
 John Paul II, Homily of the Holy Father, Mass in St Peter’s Square for the Canonization of Sr Mary Faustina Kowalska, Sunday, 30 April 2000; internet: http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/homilies/2000/documents/hf_jp-ii_hom_20000430_faustina.html, §4 (accessed April 27, 2019).
 John Paul II, Homily on Divine Mercy Sunday, 22 April 2001; internet: http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/homilies/2001/documents/hf_jp-ii_hom_20010422_divina-misericordia.html, (accessed April 26, 2019).