VATICAN CITY, APRIL 19, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address John Paul II delivered on Divine Mercy Sunday before praying the Regina Caeli with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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1. From the height of the cross, on Good Friday, Jesus left us forgiveness as his testament: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Tortured and mocked, he invoked mercy for his killers. His open arms and pierced heart became the universal sacrament of the paternal tenderness of God, who offers everyone forgiveness and reconciliation.
On the day of the resurrection, when he appeared to the disciples, the Lord greeted them with these words: “Peace be with you,” and he showed them his hands and his side with the signs of the passion. Eight days later, as we read in the page of today’s Gospel, he returned to meet with them in the Cenacle and again said to them: “Peace be with you!” (see John 20:19-26).
2. Peace is the gift par excellence of the crucified and risen Christ, fruit of the victory of his love over sin and death. By offering himself, immaculate victim of expiation on the altar of the cross, he spread over humanity the beneficent wave of Divine Mercy.
Jesus, therefore, is our peace, as he is the perfect manifestation of Divine Mercy. He infuses in the human heart, an abyss ever exposed to the temptation of evil, the merciful love of God.
3. Today, Sunday “in Albis,” we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. The Lord also sends us to take to all peace, founded on forgiveness and the remission of sins. It is an extraordinary gift, which he wished to link to the sacrament of penance and reconciliation.
How much humanity needs to experience the efficacy of the mercy of God in these times marked by growing uncertainty and violent conflicts!
May Mary, Mother of Christ our peace, who on Calvary received his testament of love, help us to be witnesses and apostles of his infinite mercy.
[At the conclusion of his address, the Holy Father said in Italian:]
I now express special greetings to the pilgrims gathered from several nations on the occasion of Divine Mercy Sunday. Beloved, following the example of St. Faustina Kowalska, I invite you to be witnesses of the merciful love of God.
[Translation by ZENIT]