On this Sunday the Church brings our celebration of Easter day to a close. For eight days, since the Solemn Easter Vigil of last Saturday through our celebration today, the Church has celebrated the empty tomb and the Easter event in this sacred Octave. Just as every Sunday is a "little Easter", these eight days have been one continuous celebration of Easter Day. The feast ends, but the season continues for another forty plus days until we celebrate Pentecost.
This Octave of Easter is also a day of celebrating the great love and mercy of God. This Second Sunday of Easter was established by the late Pope John Paul II as the Sunday of Divine Mercy in 2000. It leads us to the continuing celebration of God's mercy during Easter Time, and reflects upon the promotion of the Devotion of Divine Mercy encouraged by the Polish nun, Saint Faustina, and presented to us by our newest saint, John Paul II. The Devotion is a personal response, but the acknowledgement of the Mercy of God is universal.
And on this Octave of Easter, this Second Sunday of Easter, this Sunday of Divine Mercy, the Church celebrates the canonization of two popes who lived during our lifetimes - Angelo Roncalli, known as John XXIII and Karol Wojtyla, known as John Paul II. Pope Francis today declares these men as Saints of God. In doing so he places before us two examples, two models of what we are to be ... imperfect individuals who have embraced the Divine Mercy of God and whose lives reflect their acceptance of the Call to Holiness that comes from Baptism. More on the pope saints in another post.
Celebrate the day well and be open and grateful for the Mercy of God in your life.