Being that it is Divine Mercy Sunday, it seems only appropriate that we look for themes of mercy in all of today’s readings (find them here) and say a few words about each.
In the first reading from Acts of the Apostles, we hear that in the early Christian communities “they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need” (2:45). Here the people were performing a corporal work of mercy. They realized, as we should, that all good things that we have come from God. We are to use these gifts responsibly and share them with those less fortunate. Here we should recall the Beatitude, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
In the Responsorial Psalm the words “His mercy endures forever” are repeated several times. When the Israelites called out to the Lord He saved them and they couldn’t contain their gratitude. Then, in the final verses of the psalm, we recognize that the psalmist is foreshadowing the Savior (“The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Psalm 118:22 and Matthew 21:42). Trusting in God’s great mercy they could look forward to a Redeemer of the human race that could not redeem itself.
Peter continues this theme when he says that God the Father “in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). Why do we need this mercy? Because “while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Finally, Jesus, shows incredible mercy throughout the Gospel reading. First, on the day of His Resurrection, He appears to the apostles, cowering in a locked room, not with recriminations for their denials and abandonment of Him, but rather with a message of peace, entrusting them with a mission to spread the Gospel and the power to forgive sins. A week later He confronts doubting Thomas, who was missing from the group the previous Sunday, to humbly convince Him of the truth of the Resurrection, drawing from it a lesson for all time (“blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” — John 20:29b).
How do we show our appreciation to God for the mercy He has shown us? In turn, how do we show mercy to others?