John Paul II
April 10, 1994: [Second Sunday of Easter]
Regina Caeli Address:
Christ’s peace is the triumph of Divine Mercy (L’Osservatore Romano, April 13, 1994)
On Sunday April 10, before praying the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father reflected on the peace Christ brought by his resurrection and the triumph of divine mercy.
1. "Peace be with you!" This is the greeting of the risen Christ, which has been echoed several times in our biblical readings during this Octave of Easter and in particular, in the Gospel of today’s liturgy. On Jesus’ lips this greeting goes far beyond the perspective of and desire for external peace, although this is so necessary. The peace brought by Jesus is the fullness of the Easter gift.
Christ himself is our peace (Eph 2:14). Appearing to the Apostles after the resurrection, He, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29), inaugurates the time of great mercy offered to mankind through the gift of the Spirit and the sacraments of the Church: "Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them" (Jn 20:23).
2. The peace brought by the Risen One is consequently the triumph of Divine Mercy. What is mercy if not the boundless love of God, who, confronted with human sin, restrains the sentiment of severe justice and, allowing himself to be moved by the wretchedness of his creatures, spurs himself to the total gift of self, in the Son’s cross? "O happy fault ... which gained for us so great a Redeemer!" (Easter Proclamation)
To understand the depth of this mystery, we should take Jesus’ disconcerting revelation seriously: "... there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance" (Lk 15:7). God is truly the Shepherd who leaves ninety-nine sheep to go in search of the one that has strayed (Lk 15:4-6); he is the Father who is always ready to welcome a lost son (Lk 15:11-31). Who can say he is free from sin and does not need God’s mercy?
As people of this restless time of ours, wavering between the emptiness of self-exaltation and the humiliation of despair, we have a greater need than ever for a regenerating experience of mercy. We should learn to say repeatedly to God with the faith and simplicity of children: "Great is our sin, but even greater is your love!" (Vespers hymn during the season of Lent)
Opening ourselves to mercy, we must not be content with mediocrity and sin, but on the contrary, we must be revived by resolutions to lead a new life.
3. O Mary, Mother of mercy! You know the heart of your divine Son better than anyone. Instill in us the filial trust in Jesus practiced by the saints, the trust that animated Blessed Faustina Kowalska, the great apostle of Divine Mercy in our time.
Look lovingly upon our misery: O Mother, draw us away from the contrary temptations of self-sufficiency and despair, and obtain for us an abundance of saving mercy.