Divine Mercy is the only mercy there is since all mercy comes from God. We could not be merciful to each other if God had not been merciful to us first. All life, all love, all mercy originates from God.
Consider the small group of frightened people locked behind closed doors. They all ran away. The episode could be called, “guilt galore”. The group was afraid because they were guilty of leaving Jesus to die. They ran for their life. Obviously, they were still in danger. The authorities were looking for them. Where can we hide from the Lord? What sin have we committed that God does not already know? If Jesus had been vengeful, if He would have given them what they deserved, if the Lord had been angry with them, Jesus would have destroyed them on the spot. They did not get what they deserved. None of us gets what we deserve. Just like the Apostles we are guilty as charged, but we have been acquitted. That’s the best kept secret in the world of Christianity! We are more likely to believe that we are going to suffer for every bad word we’ve said, for every bad thought, for not liking your mother-in-law, than we are to believe that we are going to be welcomed into heaven the moment we close our eyes in death. Yet, that’s the mystery of Easter that we celebrate. Easter is the message of liberation. We are free and Christ is the One who set us free. We will not have to die. Our sins were nailed to the cross. The price has been paid. We do not just get off easy—we get off completely.
Since we are accustomed to the system of punishments and rewards, we really do not know how to handle freedom. Think about a bird that has always lived in a cage. Or a dog who has always been tied up. Or some of us who keep repeating the same sins that happened 20 years ago but we still feel guilty. All the Sacraments, but particularly the Eucharist and Reconciliation are about God’s mercy. They are the living, breathing, sanctifying voice of God telling us that we are loved. We all know what to do during Lent. There’s always a disciple to embrace, something to give up, some way that we can deprive ourselves of what we like in order to show our repentance. But we do not know what to do with Easter. Break an egg here or there, burn some fajitas, raise a glass of wine to our family. For the great majority of people, Easter comes and goes. They celebrate the Resurrection for one day and Easter is over. Not for people who really believe. Easter is to be savored every day of our life! Especially on the day that the Lord calls us home.
We are an Easter people all the time. At Christmas, at a funeral, Pentecost—Easter is who we are. The tomb is empty. Death has no power. Meanwhile some misinformed, unfortunate, ignorant souls are still behind locked doors because they are afraid. Allowing the words of Christ to penetrate our soul means that we must change. “Peace be with you”, Jesus said and continues to say to us. To be at peace means no grudges, no resentments, no regrets. The “old self” needs die in order to the new person to be born. Our past, our level of prayer, our age—none of those things are impotent. What is important is our willingness to hear the voice of our Defender. Christ does not accuse us—He forgives us. Can we forgive ourselves? Are we willing to let go of the past in order to experience new life? An old movie about vengeance had a powerful line. The main character was asked, “Why don’t you let go of your hate?” The person answered, “Because hate is all I have.” That is never true. Might feel that way. But that’s not the voice of God. We always have a choice. Jesus invites us to listen to Him. He breaks into our locked doors with one message. “Peace be with you”. Christ has no other words for the guilty. He knows us because He made us. We never have to explain ourselves to God.
Our Lord offers us His peace. Easter is about the joy that comes from knowing that we are truly free.