Love and mercy always win Print
Bishop Hying's Column
Written by Bishop Donald J. Hying   
Thursday, Apr. 16, 2020 -- 12:00 AM

In the summer of 2016, I was blessed to go to World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, with 80 pilgrims from the Diocese of Gary.

The highlight was Saturday evening. More than a million of us from every country on earth gathered to spend the night in an open field as an oppressive sun in a cloudless sky beat down.

After the pope's talk, he placed an enormous monstrance on the altar for Eucharistic Adoration and we all knelt down in silent prayer for 20 minutes.You could hear a pin drop.

The evening shadows lengthened as the sun descended towards the horizon.

We lit individual candles to form a sea of light in every direction. Kneeling in that meadow before the Eucharistic Christ in such a vast crowd of absolute stillness stunned me.

I almost expected the Blessed Mother to appear in the sky.

Love always wins

In that moment I pondered the significance of the Polish soil upon which I knelt.

Here we were, praying in a country which the Nazis sought to annihilate, as members of a Church which they wanted to destroy. The Russians, in turn, defeated the Germans and strove to crush Catholicism with the summary evil of a communist dictatorship.

Yet, against all odds, the Third Reich and the Soviet Union are consigned to history's dustbin and here we were, praying to Jesus in this place of such suffering and martyrdom.

I thought, "Love always wins! Christ always wins!"

Oppressive regimes arrogantly blustered and cruelly murdered, but the mercy, justice, and power of God had swept them away.

Another realization that struck me on my Polish sojourn was the fact that the Shrine of Divine Mercy, where Jesus revealed His merciful love to St. Faustina stands just a few miles from Auschwitz.

Just several years before the outbreak of World War II, Jesus was spiritually preparing Poland and the world for the evil that was to come. Christ set up shop, as it were, just a little distance from the most hellish place of sadistic torture, radical dehumanization, and evil genocide that the world had ever seen.

Pure Good and pure evil, side by side. Christ and Satan in a cosmic struggle. Life and death fighting it out.

Divine Mercy Sunday

This Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday, the eighth day of Easter, the close of the Paschal Octave.

In his revelations to St. Faustina, Jesus designated this day as one of great spiritual opportunity to receive grace and mercy.

Even though receiving the Eucharist and confessing our sins may not be possible this year, we can still benefit greatly by praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, examining our conscience, making an act of contrition, making a spiritual communion, praying the Rosary, and reading the Scriptures.

The Lord wants to forgive and save us; Divine Mercy Sunday is the efficacious and precious fruit of Jesus' victory over the forces of sin and death. Love always wins!

This Sunday's Gospel is the remarkable moment when Thomas the Apostle comes to faith in the risen Christ by placing his fingers into those sacred wounds and his hand into that pierced side.

I have often wondered why Jesus' wounds stubbornly remain after the resurrection.

Certainly the divine power which raised up the Christ could heal some nail marks and a spear gash.

Why are they still there? Could it be that those crucified wounds remind us that, even though we live in the victory of Easter, there are still echoes of Good Friday until the consummation of the world?

That Jesus still suffers with us as we face our own dark nights of the soul in our particular Gethsemanes and Golgothas?

For Thomas, Christ's wounds become sacred fountains of mercy, reconciliation, and peace. By touching the wounds, Thomas finds his doubt, confusion, and fear are transformed into faith, understanding, and peace.

The nail marks are holy points of entry into the love and mercy of the Sacred Heart. When we dare to touch Christ's wounds, we are healed of our sin and faithlessness and led ever more profoundly into a living relationship with the risen Lord.

Do not let this Sunday of Divine Mercy pass you by! The gates of heaven's merciful love stand open with a particular generosity today.

If you need information and guidance on how to observe this special day, there are plenty of resources online to study the history of St. Faustina and her revelations, to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and to understand more deeply the Lord's particular and precious love for you.

May you know the wonder, joy, and peace that flow from the merciful Heart of the Savior!