VATICAN - AVE MARIA by Mgr Luciano Alimandi -
Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - In the light of merciful Jesus we are invited to treasure the gift of grace of Easter we have just celebrated. Faith in the Risen Lord was renewed especially in those who took to heart the penitential itinerary of Lent and, since the morning of the Resurrection, have thrown themselves with new impulse into the ocean of Divine Mercy.
Faith is renewed when it purifies itself of everything which prevents it from becoming "faith-trust ", faith which gives itself totally to the Other, to Jesus, as God incarnate, who is also "totally Other" from us. This is the faith which the Risen Lord demands of his disciples: "faith-wonder" for the infinite Love of the Father! This act of faith must be entirely pervaded with trust in the Lord; it is a new act of faith, because after Easter there is no longer any "reason" to doubt that God the Father, in his Son Jesus with the power of the Holy Spirit, has conquered the world, sin and the Evil One. This is why Thomas, the disbeliever par excellence, although certainly not the only one, is asked to have "faith-trust", the sort which impels him to put himself in the hands of Jesus: "Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving any more but believe!" (Jn 20, 27).
We too like Thomas, at times disbelieve, we drift away from "faith-trust" in Jesus. He, instead, never leaves us, He continues to have trust in us! How often he has proved to us that he is Risen, in many small and great events of our life, he let us see that "the Lord has lifted his right arm and has worked wonders " (Ps 117, 16)!
How often we were dead and we returned to life, lost and found again (cfr. Lk 15, 32)! Like the Apostles we have experienced the power of Christ's forgiveness, his goodness and meekness, his faithfulness, despite our infidelity and, like Thomas, we have exclaimed with all our heart: "my Lord and my God " (Jn 20, 28). How true then are the words of the prophet Isaiah which have reached us across the centuries and "reaching" our hardened hearts: " But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was on him; and with his stripes we are healed" (Is 53, 5).
The Lord wants our act of faith to be ever more certain, ever more a certainty about his infinite Mercy, detached from everything which is earthly and passing, tending to what is divine and eternal. At times our act of faith in Jesus is like a ship which leaves land for a while but never puts out into the deep, because it is anchored to the sea bed. How many paths of faith are hindered by "faith which is calculated" measured by human strength and reasoning! Instead, to put out into the deep in the ocean of Divine Mercy it is necessary to have as the Gospel says, the faith of a child, (cfr. Mt 18, 3), which is pure, similar to a mustard seed (Mt 17, 20), which moves the mountains of our incredulity.
The Holy Father Benedict XVI is calling us to have this pure faith in the Risen Lord and he does this in the footsteps of his venerated Predecessor John Paul II who urged the Church of the Third Millennium "Duc in altum - Put out into the deep" (Lk 5,4), to have unconditioned faith in Jesus in order to sail the ocean of Divine Providence.
Last Sunday the Holy Father recalled this great Pontiff who established the Feast of Divine Mercy, in keeping with the message of Saint Faustina Kowalska: " During the Jubilee of the Year 2000 the beloved Servant of God, John Paul II established that throughout the Church the Sunday after Easter should be called Domenica in Albis and Divine Mercy Sunday. This occurred contemporaneously with the canonization of Faustina Kowalska, a humble Polish Sister who was born in 1905 and died in 1938, a zealous messenger of the Merciful Jesus. Indeed, mercy is the central nucleus of the Gospel message; it is the very name of God, the Face with which he revealed himself in the Old Covenant and fully in Jesus Christ, the incarnation of creative and redemptive Love. (…)Like Sr Faustina, John Paul II in his turn made himself an apostle of Divine Mercy. In the evening of the unforgettable Saturday, 2 April 2005, when he closed his eyes on this world, it was precisely the eve of the Second Sunday of Easter and many people noted the rare coincidence that combined the Marian dimension - the first Saturday of the month - and the dimension of Divine Mercy. This was in fact the core of John Paul II's long and multi-faceted Pontificate. The whole of his mission at the service of the truth about God and man and of peace in the world is summed up in this declaration, as he himself said in Krakow-Łagiewniki in 2002 when he inaugurated the large Shrine of Divine Mercy: "Apart from the mercy of God there is no other source of hope for mankind".
(Benedict XVI, 30 March 2008).
Together with these great witnesses of renewed Easter faith , we too repeat, on our earthly pilgrimage: "Jesus, I place my trust in you!"
(Agenzia Fides 2/4/2008; righe 58, parole 899)