Fr. Sanctus Mario
Inspiration and Bible Reflections

Living A Life of Mercy; Sunday Breakfast with the Word, Divine Mercy Sunday


Sunday Breakfast with the Word Second Sunday of Easter. Feast of Divine Mercy (DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY)


Acts 4:32-35, 1 John 5:1-6, John 20:19-31


The word “mercy” comes from the Latin word “misericordia,” which can be broken down into two parts: “miser” meaning “unhappy” or “wretched,” and “cor” meaning “heart.”

Therefore, the etymological meaning of “mercy” can be understood as having a compassionate or kind heart towards those who are unhappy or in a wretched state.

Let us look at five different meanings of mercy, this will help us to fully understand the concept of Divine Mercy.


1.Mercy refers to showing compassion, kindness, or forgiveness towards someone who is in a vulnerable or disadvantaged position. For example, “The kind-hearted woman showed mercy by giving money to the homeless person.”


2.In a legal context, mercy may refer to the power or authority to show leniency or grant clemency, particularly in the form of reducing a penalty or sentence. For example, “The governor granted mercy to the convicted criminal, commuting their sentence.”


3.Mercy can also describe an act of refraining from causing harm or punishment, especially when one has the power to do so. For example, “The warrior showed mercy by sparing the life of his defeated opponent in battle.”


4. Mercy can refer to an expression of pity or sympathy towards someone experiencing suffering or distress. For example, “He looked at her with mercy in his eyes as she shared her heartbreaking story.”


5. In religious or spiritual contexts, mercy may denote the compassionate and forgiving nature of God. For example, “The faithful pray to God for mercy and forgiveness for their sins.”


In application, Divine Mercy refers to God showing compassion, kindness, or forgiveness towards us especially in our wretched states.

It refers to God showing granting clemency, particularly in the form of reducing a penalty and punishments due to our sins.

It also denotes when we refrain from causing harm to others.

Mercy can refer to an expression of God’s compassion, pity or sympathy towards us in the time of our  suffering or distress


This help us to have inkling of what the Divine Mercy Stands for. Let us go deeper.


The Concept of Divine Mercy.


“Divine Mercy” refers to the belief in God’s infinite and boundless love, compassion, and forgiveness towards us.

It is rooted in the understanding that God, out of His mercy, sent Jesus Christ to redeem and save us from sin and its consequences.

Divine Mercy first of all reveals the merciful heart of God, how deep, rich and abundant His mercy is.

It emphasizes that God is willing to forgive even the gravest sins and offers salvation to all who sincerely seek His mercy.


Secondly, It is based on the belief that through the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus, God’s mercy is extended to all people, regardless of their past actions or shortcomings.

Divine Mercy reveals God’s lovely desire to show this mercy to us. He constantly invites us to confess our sins and amend our lives.

Divine Mercy highlights the understanding of God’s compassionate and forgiving nature, inviting individuals to turn to Him, seek His mercy, and experience His love and redemption.


Finally, Divine mercy also implies that we do the same to anyone who has offended us. We are called to show mercy to our neighbours, offenders and people who do wrong to us or those who make us live in bitterness and pain.


Devotion to Divine Mercy


Devotion to Divine Mercy is particularly associated with the visions and writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun who reported experiencing messages and visions of Jesus emphasising His unfathomable mercy.

This devotion encourages believers to trust in God’s mercy, seek His forgiveness, and extend mercy to others in their own lives.

Then the Divine Mercy as we celebrate it today is a request from the Lord Jesus Christ who through Sr. Faustina requests that every second Sunday of Easter be dedicated to His Divine Mercy.


Historical Analysis.


The historical analysis of Divine Mercy can be traced back to the visions and writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun who reported experiencing messages and visions of Jesus emphasising His unfathomable mercy.


It arises out of a series of apparitions from the Lord to a polish nun whose name is Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska of the Blessed Sacrament. Sr. Faustina is a Polish Catholic nun and mystic.

When she was twenty years old she entered the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy.


She lived there for the next thirteen years until her death on October 5th 1938. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1993 and canonised in 2000.


St. Faustina lived from 1905 to 1938 and documented her experiences and conversations with Jesus in her diary, “Divine Mercy in My Soul.” In her writings, she recorded Jesus’ calls for the establishment of a feast of Divine Mercy and the significance of the image of Divine Mercy.


In April 1978 the Holy See in Rome permitted the spread of this devotion. The one primarily responsible for the Holy See approving the authenticity of the apparitions was Karol Wojtyla, then Archbishop of Krakow, later that year elevated as Pope. In 1981 Pope John Paul said his destined role was to bring the era of Divine Mercy into the world



Promotion and Institution of Divine Mercy

However, it was not until the papacy of Pope John Paul II that Divine Mercy devotion was widely recognized and institutionalised within the Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II, who was of Polish descent and deeply devoted to St. Faustina’s spirituality, beatified her in 1993 and canonised her as a saint in 2000.

In April 2000, Pope John Paul II also officially established the Second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday. This declaration was made during the canonization ceremony of St. Faustina and was an affirmation of the importance of Divine Mercy in the Church.


Pope John Paul II actively promoted devotion to Divine Mercy, emphasising the need for individuals and the world to trust in God’s mercy and seek His forgiveness.

His efforts included writing about Divine Mercy in his encyclical “Dives in Misericordia ” and visiting the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow, Poland.


Pope John Paul II’s influence and promotion of Divine Mercy have led to an increased following of this devotion worldwide, with many individuals and communities embracing the message of God’s boundless mercy and seeking to live out its principles in their lives.






The Promise of Divine Mercy


In the 1930s, St. Faustina received extraordinary revelations, which she recorded in her diary. Our Lord Jesus Christ told her, “In the Old Covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My people. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart” (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 1588).


Therefore, Sr. Faustina was chosen to be the vessel that will spread the message of God’s mercy and for the mission of bringing His message of Mercy to the world. Jesus called the Divine Mercy Sunday mankind’s “last hope of salvation” (995)



Today, we celebrate the Feast of Divine Mercy. It is specially known as Divine Mercy Sunday.

St. Faustina was privileged to receive apparitions from Jesus emphasizing his mercy, and especially his mercy today.


Jesus promises that those who go to Confession and receive Holy Communion today will receive not only forgiveness of their sins, but the total remission of all temporal punishment for their sins.


It is like a second baptism when God wipes all our sins and punishment away. Confession during the week beforehand is also acceptable.


Our attitude should be one of total trust in Jesus’ Divine Mercy. Confession before today in preparation for this feast is also recommended.


Sister Faustina used to confess on Saturday. Hence, going to confession is not the only way to prepare ourselves for this feast. We are also to be merciful, to perform acts of mercy.




The Mercy of God.


The theme of the ‘mercy of God’ runs throughout the Bible. The bible says that God is ‘rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4).

The Greek word ‘eleos’ means ‘mercy, compassion, pity, clemency.

This feast of Divine Mercy reminds us of many parables taught by Jesus emphasizing God’s mercy. We remember the three beautiful parables of Luke 15.

In this chapter, God is like a shepherd who leaves 99 sheep to go in search of the one lost one.


Also in the parable of the lost coin, God is like the woman who searches the entire house to find the coin she lost.

Then in the parable of the prodigal son, God is like the father who comes out of the house to welcome back his prodigal son and who comes out of the house a second time to entice the elder son to come in and join in the party.


Today God has thrown a party during which we can receive God’s infinite mercy. Let us accept and go to the party and receive God’s mercy.


Attributes of God’s Mercy.


In this season of Easter, it is most fitting indeed for us to focus our attention on the Lord and the nature of the Divine Mercy.


In truth, the mercy of God is boundless, enduring and ever-present. Unlimited mercy and compassion are what God has for every one of us sinners and unworthy people.

God grants us this when we allow Him to extend such a wonderful and gracious mercy towards us.


He does not want us to be destroyed and annihilated because of our sinfulness. God longs to give us another chance.


The Lord has shown us such great love and mercy. Despite our sinful nature, God reaches out to all of us. He desires to heal us from all of our brokenness and unworthiness.


The Life of Mercy

In the ministry of Jesus, He showed us how to live in unity This is what the apostles were doing in the first reading of today. They continued the good works of the Lord’s merciful love, by their unity in faith, sharing of possessions, and care for one another.

1.The believers were united in heart and soul, and they shared everything they had in common. This highlights the importance of unity and the willingness to share with others. This teaches us that life of mercy involves not only acts of compassion but also a sense of caring for others.

A man of compassion is one who is not selfish nor thinks only of His welfare and stomach but one who has a deep love and compassion for others as well.


2.The life of mercy also involves reaching out to those in need. The first reading states that no member of the community was in need because they took care of one another.

Those who had possessions, including land and houses, sold them and brought the money to the apostles for distribution.

This demonstrates the practical nature of mercy, where believers actively contributed to the well-being of others, especially those facing hardship or lack.


Here we can understand that Mercy goes beyond individual acts of kindness. It involves fostering a sense of unity and community, being witnesses of Christ’s resurrection, reaching out to those in need, and being willing to share our resources for the benefit of others.


The early Christian community serves as an example of how living in mercy can create a supportive and caring society.

We can never separate mercy from God’s nature. In the same way, the heart of compassion should never be separated from us.

Any Christian who is devoid of the heart of compassion for the poor, no matter how prayerful he may seem to be, is not a Christian.



The Implications



To be merciful as Jesus does is our call. He calls us to be merciful as Jesus does.


Our vocation is to follow in the footsteps of the Lord Himself and His disciples, in doing the works of mercy in our daily living.



Our Lord promises many great blessings and graces for the merciful when He says, “Give, and it shall be given to you…; the measure you give to others is the measure that will be given to you” (Luke 6:38).


Therefore, the more we are merciful to others the more, we also invite mercy upon our lives.



He says, “Do them good and lend to them, without any hope of return; then your reward will be a rich one, and you will be true sons of the Most High, generous like Him toward the thankless and unjust” (Luke 6:35).

In Matthew 5:7, Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy


Therefore, this is the greatest reward a person can expect. We receive mercy when we show mercy to others. We become sons of the Most High for being merciful to our fellowmen.


Divine mercy obtains for us grace and light, cleanses us from our sins, guides us to the Sacrament of Penance, and saves our soul from death that is from eternal damnation.


If We Truly Keep His Commandments.


In the second reading, it was mentioned that Jesus Christ came as a witness, not only with water but with water and blood, and that the Spirit is the truth.

This could be seen as a reminder of the mercy and sacrifice of Jesus in offering salvation to humanity.

Through His sacrifice, Jesus demonstrated a supreme act of mercy, offering forgiveness and redemption to all who believe in Him.

If we truly call ourselves children of God, we shall also aspire to be like God, Our Father. In the second reading, loving God and keeping His commandments are mentioned as indicators that we love God’s children.

By following God’s commandments, we can demonstrate mercy towards others by treating them with kindness, forgiveness, and understanding. If we truly aspire to keep the commandments of God, to be merciful should not be lacking.


Our Inability To Believe In His Mercy


There are times we remember our pasts and it seems as if God will never forgive us again. There are also times we go to confession but deep inside our hearts we still believe that God is yet to forgive us.


Many Christians are suffering from unbelief about the merciful hearts of Jesus. This is why many of us believe that there are some people God answers their prayers first, but does not answer ours first. Because of this type of unbelief, we lose hope in God’s mercy and love.



Also, many of us have not been able to show mercy in our actions and deeds in life, especially because we think that everything we say about being merciful is just mere talk.


The point here is that we are acting in the manner of St. Thomas the Apostle as mentioned in our Gospel passage today.


St. Thomas shows his lack of faith and doubt in the Lord’s resurrection. St. Thomas doubted and refused to believe the words of the other disciples that Jesus had risen, to the point that he publicly mentioned that he would not believe unless he was able to prove it with his own hands. He wants to touch His hands to verify if truly the person appearing to them is Jesus Christ.


This is exactly what many of us are suffering from as well. We are suffering from our inability to have genuine faith in God, in His love and His mercy.


Many Christians today completely lose trust in the mercy of God. They continue to feel the guilt of their pasts even after having confessed their sins.

Some Christians even believe that God is so heart hardened that He cannot be able to answer their prayers.

Today’s gospel calls for a rethink and to have complete trust and faith in Jesus and His merciful heart.



The Power to Forgive Sins.


When Jesus appears to the apostle today, He says to them “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so am I sending you”.


Then, after saying this he breathed on them and said “Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained”.


By this, Jesus handed unto them the power to forgive the sins of others. The apostles hand this power to the further generation. This is where the church derives its power to forgive sins.


Therefore, when the priest stays at the confessional, He does not act on the power of His own, rather He is there in the person of Christ.


The power to grant forgiveness to penitents is not of his but of the Lord Jesus Christ who grants them the privilege to relieve sinners from the burdens of sin. He, therefore, wants them to be merciful as Jesus does.


Before Creation, the Holy Spirit hovers over the waters, and today, Jesus breathed on the apostles the same Spirit of God, which therefore signifies a moment of recreation.

Therefore, at the confessional, the priest in turn grants the penitent this solemn gift of forgiveness from the Lord, recreating the sinner to be new again.


After the confession, God wipes our sins away, and the Holy Spirit then takes absolute control of the heart of the penitent.





1.The Feast of Divine Mercy is a call to be merciful as Jesus does. In His mercy, He forgave the woman caught in adultery in John 8. When others condemned the woman to die, Jesus did not.

At the cross, He also forgives the repentant thief crucified alongside Him who asks that He remembers him in His kingdom (Luke 23:32-43).

Jesus did not even postpone the forgiveness nor judge Him of his pasts, rather He forgave Him immediately.

On the cross also, He asks the Father to forgive all that mocked, condemned and crucified Him. He asks God to forgive them for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).

Therefore, Jesus wants us to, first of all, understand how abundant His mercy is. This will enable us to seek and approach him always in confidence when we seek His mercy.



2. The mercy of God is abundant and boundless, but we have often abused this goodness and failed to make an effort to improve. Like Thomas, we doubt His merciful and loving heart.


Also, since we know that He is so merciful, we decide to live in sin and atrocity believing that whatever we do, He will surely forgive us.


We neglect and abuse His love for us because we know that He must surely forgive when we ask of Him. This is an abuse of God’s love.


God loves us not for us to continue to live in sin but for us to return this love through a trusting and loving relationship with Him. But we have decided to live otherwise.



3. In Matthew 5:7, Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. He also commanded us to forgive and forget, but we decide to be merciless. He asks us to forgive but we decide not to forgive.


When He appears to the apostles today, His first greeting is “peace be with you”. He wants them first to embrace the message and gift of peace.

Therefore, peace should be the first virtue that every Christian should possess.

Instead, we decide not to live in peace. We decide to live with hatred of another, bearing grudges and living in bitterness. We decide to harden our hearts.


Instead of living in peace, and love, we become heartless and wicked to our fellow human beings. This is the reason, we are killing ourselves.


This is the reason families are not progressing. Instead of embracing forwardness, we embrace backwardness. Jesus wants us to be merciful as He does. But we choose not to. We find it even as a hobby to live in jealousy, envy, bitterness and hatred. We are affecting ourselves.



4. The Feast of divine mercy today is a call to be merciful as Jesus does. It is very painful when you remember how someone you love and helped but later paid you back with betrayal.


It is very painful when you remember how you spent your hard-earned money on someone who promised you His or her trust, but later, He or she paid you back with evil. Sometimes when we remember what we did for people who later paid us back with evil, it pains us.


Also when you remember how the soldiers, mocked, flogged, naked and crucified Jesus, it pains. But Jesus shows us that despite these mistreatments, it is better to forgive and keep our hearts pure.


He forgives all His offenders on the cross and asks us to do the same. Therefore, the feast of divine Mercy is asking us to go inwards and remember the people that have hurt us and those we have hurt. Then, we forgive and clean our minds from the pains and bitterness.


We have to forgive, if not for any other thing, but for the sake of Jesus, who commanded us to do so. Therefore, never live in grudges or bitterness for anyone. Be merciful as Jesus does.



5.Also let us always be confident in approaching God’s presence. Let us always approach Him in the sacrament of penance and seek His mercy.

Also, let us approach Him at the sacrament of the altar. In His presence, there is peace, love, mercy and forgiveness of sins. Let us not glory in sin but let us glory in the grace and mercy that are abundant in his presence.



6.Let us always have the hunger to seek God’s forgiveness, and forgive others. On 13 May 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot and wounded by Ali Ağca.


On May 13, that day, people sat in Peter’s square, waiting for the Pope to arrive. When the Pope passed through a crowd of supporters, Ağca fired four shots at the pope and critically wounded him.


He flees the scene as the crowd is in shock. He is unlucky as the Vatican security chief Camillo Cibin, a nun, and several spectators grab him and prevent him from escaping. They later arrest him.


All the four bullets hit John Paul II; two of them lodged in his lower intestine. The other two hit his left index finger and right arm and also injured two bystanders.


The Italian government sentenced Ağca to life imprisonment for the assassination attempt in July 1981, but the Italian president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi pardoned him in June 2000 at the Pope’s request.

Pope John Paul II asks people to “pray for my brother [Ağca] … whom I have sincerely forgiven”.


In 1983, Pope John Paul II met Ağca and spoke to him privately at Rome’s Rebibbia Prison, which is the prison where Ağca is a hostage.

Ağca kissed the Pope’s ring after their visit. The Pope was also deeply in touch with Ağca’s family over the years.

Although Ağca attempted to murder the pope, he later developed a friendship with the pontiff. In early February 2005, during the Pope’s illness, Ağca sent a letter to the Pope wishing him well.

Let us also learn to forgive.



May God have mercy on us and guide us to encounter His love and mercy always. Amen.



God bless you.




  1. Jacqueline Aforkpah says

    Amen 🙏
    May God forgive us and help us to be merciful to one another 🙏

    Thanks Fr for the reflections and the education on being merciful


    thanks Padre…
    you did a great job here

    1. Sanctus Mario says

      Thank you so much

  3. Bibiana Uche Unachukwu and family says

    A thunderous Amen.

  4. Mailoushi James Tarwa says

    Amen, remain blessed to the glory of God’s name, Amen

  5. Chisom Egwudike says


  6. Chizoba Ekwueme says


  7. Dodoh Peter Anthony says

    Jesus, I trust in you. Amen

  8. Jane chuks says

    Amen 🙏
    Jesus I completely trust in your Divine mercy. Amen 🙏

  9. Mariajacinta Ivoke says


  10. John Obasi says

    May God bless and enrich you with his abundance of Grace to shepherd his flock well..Amen

  11. Amalu Ebere says


  12. Chinwe Agwoile says

    The Divine Mercy teaches us to trust in God’s unconditional Love and Mercy, and practice merciful love to our neighbour in deed, word and prayer. It teaches us to recognize that His Mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others.
    This is my humble prayer, O Lord:
    If at all I should have doubts, let it be a humble doubt that will open my eyes to understand You more. May You give me the grace to test every spirit and to have a limp of faith like Thomas so as to always acknowledge You as My Lord and my God. Also, may I apply reason in my dealings with You to enable me spread Your Divine Love, Divine Mercy and Divine Peace.
    For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion ! Have mercy on us and on the whole world!
    Most Merciful Jesus! I trust in You. Whenever I see You! I rejoice!

    Am resolved to Be A Point of Light💡

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