Let his blood be on our hands
March 30, 2008
We began Holy Week recounting the Lord's Passion and Death. We heard the cries, “Crucify Him”, “We have no king but Caesar”, and “May his blood be on our hands!” And today on the Feast of Divine Mercy, we rejoice in His appearance to the Apostles. We see the nail marks in His hands and feet, and touch the wound where a spear pierced His side. Then we hear His greeting, not words of accusation, not words of condemnation, but words of comfort: “Peace be with You.”
'Let His Blood be on our hands' has two meanings. On the most obvious level it signifies blame. Even today we speak of someone as having “blood on his hands.” Modern DNA tests can establish guilt from the tiniest amount of blood. Christ's crucifixion and death is a theological DNA test. We have blood on our hands. Our sins put Him on the cross. Yet He comes to us and says, “Peace be with you.”
Divine Mercy Sunday is a feast declared and placed in the liturgical calendar by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II. It is a feast requested by our Lord, as recorded in the Diary of St. Faustina. Jesus said to her, “My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and a shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the font of My mercy”.
One of the champions of the Divine Mercy message was our late beloved Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, who died on Divine Mercy Sunday three years ago. Not only was he instrumental in lifting of the ban on St. Faustina's diary, but was an ardent Apostle of Christ's Mercy, and promoted Faustina's sainthood. In his encyclical, 'Dives In Misericordia', he proclaimed the abundant mercy of God. He stated that Divine Mercy “formed the image of his pontificate”. Praying at the Shrine of Divine Mercy, this humble servant of God said, “I come here to entrust to Him once more my Petrine ministry ... Jesus, I trust in you.” Pope John Paul II will always be remembered as the Mercy Pope, as he reached out to bring forgiveness and reconciliation to a world disparately in need of healing.
In a peculiar way, on this Mercy Sunday, we actually celebrate the wounds of Our Savior. Through the lance that pierced Our Savior's Sacred Heart, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, and we enter the Holy of Holies. Through the blood and water that came from His side, forgiveness flows. We are pardoned, washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb. The Gates of Heaven are opened, and we are resurrected to new life. Through the thorns that pierced His head, through our suffering for the Gospel, we are crowned with Him as priest, prophet, and king. Hanging by the nails that pierced His Sacred Hands, in His dying breath, he said, “It is accomplished.”
Let his blood be on our hands.
Jesus told St. Faustina, “Before I come as the just judge, I come as the Merciful Savior.” Who among us can say that he is innocent of the charge? Who can say His blood is not on our hands?
We have only one option, only one way out, to confess our guilt and plea for mercy. His blood is on our hands. His blood testifies against us, but blood that condemns, becomes the blood that redeems and saves.
Then let us say in a new way, “Let us His Blood be on us.” Let us be made clean, washed in the Blood of the Lamb. Let His Blood be on our conscience, as we confess our guilt, and immerse ourselves in the ocean of His Mercy. Let His Blood be in our intellect, as we dedicate our lives to God and bring mercy to a lost world. Let His Blood be on our hands as we extend His greeting of peace. Let His Blood be on our lips as we drink from the cup of salvation. And let His Blood be on our souls when death knocks at our door.
Yes, today we celebrate this great Feast of Divine Mercy. We celebrate this feast so dear to our beloved John Paul II. We join with the Apostle Thomas and exclaim, “My Lord and My God” and we hear the comforting words of our risen Savior, “Peace be with you.”
Then when our journey has ended, let His Blood be on our hearts that we may enter the gates of paradise and hear the words we long to hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant ... Come, share your master’s joy.”1