There is an intimate connection between the Divine Mercy devotion and Image and the Mercy Sunday Gospel reading (Jn 20:19-21). In the Mercy Image, Jesus is pictured as standing in front of a locked door. In the Gospel we also heard that “on the evening of that first day of the week, the doors were locked where the disciples were gathered”. The disciples had run away and abandoned Jesus when He was arrested in the garden and are still hiding, cowering in fear. We are like them. We are afraid and ashamed because, through our sin, we have also abandoned Jesus and left Him to die alone, so in fear and shame we have locked the door of our hearts to hide, not to face Him, to expose our vulnerability. But what happened? “Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” WHAT!? Jesus enters into their hiding place anyway, to give them the message of His unchanged love. He also enters through the door of our hearts although they be securely locked, and gives us the message of peace.
Sin is a turning away from God. Sin is an act, and acts have consequences. But God also is able to act! He does not undo our act but adds to it His Act: He forgives, He does not quit the relationship, He comes into our hearts, He gives us His Presence, His Peace and Love. And if we are astonished by this, He shows us His Wounds and repeats it, “Peace be with you!”
Then, He does something even more amazing: “As the Father has sent me, so am I sending you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive they are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain they are retained.” He empowers us to pass on the same understanding and forgiveness He has freely given to us to others, or not if we choose. We can retain the sins of others, or set them free and not quit the relationship. Now this is Divine Mercy!
Beloved brothers and sisters, on behalf of the monks of New Clairvaux Abbey, I say to you, “Peace be with you!”
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