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Dear Brothers and Sisters!
This Sunday the Gospel of John recounts that the risen Jesus appeared to his disciples, gathered in the cenacle, on the evening of the "first day of the week" (John 20:19), and that he showed himself to them again in the same place "eight days later" (John 20:26).
From the beginning, therefore, the Christian community began to live a weekly rhythm, highlighted by the encounter with the risen Lord.
It is what is also emphasized by the Second Vatican Council's constitution on the sacred liturgy, which affirms: "The Church, by an apostolic tradition, which has its origin in the same day of the resurrection of Christ, celebrates the paschal mystery every eight days, on the day that is called with reason 'day of the Lord' or Sunday" ("Sacrosanctum Concilium," No. 106).
The evangelist also recalls that in both apparitions the Lord Jesus showed the disciples the signs of the crucifixion, very visible and tangible also in his glorious body (cf. John 20:20,27). Those sacred wounds, in the hands, the feet and the side, are an inexhaustible source of faith, hope and love in which each one can drink, especially souls most thirsty of Divine Mercy.
In consideration of this, the Servant of God John Paul II, valuing the spiritual experience of a humble religious, St. Faustina Kowalska, wanted the Sunday after Easter to be dedicated in a special way to divine mercy, and providence disposed that he should die precisely on the vigil of that day (in the hands of Divine Mercy).
The mystery of the merciful love of God was at the center of the pontificate of my venerated predecessor. Let us recall, in particular, the encyclical "Dives in Misericordia" of 1980, and the dedication of the new shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow, in 2002.
The words he pronounced on that last occasion were as a synthesis of his magisterium, evidencing that devotion to Divine Mercy is not a secondary, but an integral dimension of a Christian's faith and prayer.
May Mary most holy, mother of the Church, whom we now address with the Regina Caeli, obtain for all Christians to live in fullness Sunday as the "week's Easter," relishing the beauty of the encounter with the risen Lord and drinking from the source of his merciful love, to be apostles of his peace.
[Translation by ZENIT]
[After praying the Regina Caeli, the Pope greeted pilgrims in eight languages. In English, he said:]
I am happy to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for this Regina Caeli. Today's Gospel portrays the risen Christ as the bearer of peace, granting the Church the power to forgive sins. On this, the second Sunday of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday, may God's blessings of reconciliation and peace be with you all!
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