His mercy endures forever. (Psalm 118)
The Solemnity of Easter lasts for eight days–a week and a day, from Sunday to Sunday. It is the biggest feastday of all, too big for just twenty-four hours.
On the eighth day of Easter in the year 2000, Pope John Paul II declared that this day is ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.’ He declared this while he was canonizing St. Faustina Kowalska, the nun who had seen the vision of Jesus with rays of merciful love pouring out from His Heart.
When the Pope declared that the eighth day of Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday, he noted that none of the prayers or readings of the Mass needed to be changed. From the beginning, from the first eight days after our Lord rose from the dead, the Solemnity of Easter has been the feast of divine mercy.
When the Lord Jesus spoke to the Apostles after He rose from the dead, He commissioned them to preach His message. The message is: Repent of your sins, and be forgiven!
The Apostles obeyed. When St. Peter preached to the citizens of Jerusalem, he addressed the very people who had stood in front of Pontius Pilate’s praetorium and clamored for Christ’s crucifixion. St. Peter spoke to these enemies of Christ and said, “You denied the holy and righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. The author of life you put to death…Repent, therefore!”
Dear brothers and sisters: If we want to keep this holy feast, the feast that lasts for a week and a day, the feast of the Lord’s Resurrection, the feast of Divine Mercy—if we want to keep this feast in sincerity and truth, then we must acknowledge that we are the very citizens to whom St. Peter spoke.