April 23, 1995

Divine Mercy Sunday

Regina Caeli Address,

New Life and Joy flow from Easter
L’Osservatore Romano, April 26, 1995

"The spiral of hatred and violence which stains with blood the path of so many individuals and nations can only be broken by the miracle of forgiveness," the Holy Father said to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, 23 April, before praying the Regina Caeli.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1.   Today ends the Octave of Easter, when the Church repeats the words of the Psalm with exultation: "This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it" (Ps 117 [118]: 24). The whole Octave is like a single day, the new day, the day of the new creation. By conquering death, Christ has made all things new (cf. Rv 21:5). From Easter flows new life, new peace and new joy for all believers.

However, the peace and joy of Easter are not only for the Church: they are for the whole world! Joy is victory over fear, violence and death. Peace is the antithesis of anguish. Greeting the Apostles, who were frightened and discouraged by His passion and death, the Risen One says: "Peace be with you" (Jn 20:19). When Christ appeared to John on the island of Patmos, this was once again His invitation: "Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive for ever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the nether world" (Rv 1:17-18).

Easter overcomes human fear because it gives the only true answer to one of man’s greatest problems: death. In proclaiming Jesus’ Resurrection, the Church wishes to pass on to humanity faith in the resurrection of the death and in everlasting life. The Christian proclamation is essentially "the Gospel of life."

2.   Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good (cf. Psalm 117 [118]:1). In a special way, today is the Sunday of thanksgiving for the goodness God has shown man in the whole Easter mystery. This is why it is also called the Sunday of Divine Mercy. Essentially, God’s mercy, as the mystical experience of Blessed Faustina Kowalska, who was raised to the honors of the altar two years ago, helps us to understand, reveals precisely this truth: good triumphs over evil, life is stronger than death and God’s love is more powerful than sin. All this is manifested in Christ’s paschal mystery, in which God appears to us as he is: a tender-hearted Father, who does not give up in the face of his children’s ingratitude and is always ready to forgive.

3.   Dear brothers and sisters, we must personally experience this mercy if, in turn, we want to be capable of mercy. Let us learn to forgive! The spiral of hatred and violence which stains with blood the path of so many individuals and nations can only be broken by the miracle of forgiveness. 

May Mary obtain this gift of Divine Mercy for all humanity so that the individuals and peoples who are particularly tormented by hostility and fratricidal war may overcome hatred and build concrete attitudes of reconciliation and peace.