Wounds of Christ

Jesus Carries the Cross Artist: Mel Gibson 1

Wounds of Christ

Wounds of Christ Artist: Mel Gibson 2

Celebrating the Wounds of Christ

Divine Mercy Sunday

By Deacon Wayland Moncrief

Today, we continue in our celebration of Easter Sunday with the celebration of Divine Mercy. In liturgical terms the Easter Octave, the eight days of Easter, are a single day. Thus, Easter Sunday and Divine Mercy Sunday are bookends, the beginning and the fulfillment of Christ's Mission to destroy the chains of sin and restore sonship to the human race.

In this celebration, and in the celebration of the eight weeks of Easter, in a profound, and astonishing manner, we actually celebrate the wounds Our Savior bore on the Cross. We celebrate the nails that pierced His Hands. We celebrate the lance that pierced His side. We celebrate the Blood and Water that came forth for us. Through His wounds the waters of Baptism flow. Through His wounds we are washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb. Through the lance that pierced His Sacred Heart the curtain of the temple was torn in two, Heaven was opened for us, and we enter into the Holy of Holies, welcomed by the outstretched Arms of Our Savior. Satan and death are vanquished, the price is paid, the forgiveness of our sins is made possible, and we are the ones who are resurrected to a new life.

Who would have ever thought that through His condemnation, through the whip's lash, through the thorns that crowned His Sacred Head, and falling repeatedly while He carried the Cross, that we would be the beneficiaries? It's all so unexpected. so surreal – a reversal of fortunes - too much to fully comprehend. Who would have ever imagined that all of this was necessary for our salvation: that the innocent would pay the price for the guilty.

Truly, God's ways are not our ways. It was our cross that He bore. How could we ever merit such a sacrifice? How could we ever express our thanks? Yet, through His Mercy and His Love, we are the beneficiaries. But there is even more, not only is the forgiveness of our sins made possible, but the locks of our self-made prisons are broken, and we are set free. And, on this day, this Day of Mercy, anyone who approaches the Font of His Divine Mercy receives a complete pardon for their sins. “O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!”

The profoundness of this strange reversal of justice is a matter that deserves our continual, and earnest, contemplation. It is a matter that calls for the complete reform of our vision - a complete reform of our lives. Christ's love for us calls us to live in gratitude, to live lives of mercy and forgiveness, and sacrifice ourselves for the mission to which we are called. That is the essence of this day, this Divine Mercy Sunday: to allow our hearts to be transformed by His Merciful Love, and to bring the forgiveness and pardon we have received, to others.

Yes, it is surprising that we would celebrate such a tragedy. For those who truly love God, Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross, and the pains He endured, bring us sorrow and heartache. Yet, it is only through these events that our salvation was made possible. We, often, tend to think of Christ's Passion, Death, Resurrection in singular terms, missing the full scope of all that transpired. However, there is more. Everything that Christ experienced had a unique purpose. Everything that He did was to atone for our sins and the sins of all mankind. Everything that He did was to clear our path to His Heart.

Yes, there is more. There is so much more. Many of you have probably not heard of the Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta. Luisa is in the process of being considered for sainthood. Our Good Lord dictated thirty-six volumes to her about His Divine Will. The books are entitled, The Book of Heaven, and they are about living in God's Divine Will. Luisa had only a first grade education. Yet her writings are so profound that it leaves little doubt - they could only have been written by God. To further confirm that these writing are authentic, that they came from Christ, Luisa lived the last sixty-four years of her life without food, nourished only by the Holy Eucharist.

In another book, also dictated by Christ and approved for publication, Luisa describes the “Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” This book traces every step in Christ's twenty-four hour journey to the Cross and the reparation He made for our sins. For those who will be attending the Feast of Divine Mercy later this afternoon, you will be introduced to these writings, and through them gain a greater appreciation of the scope, detail, and purposes of Christ's journey to the Cross.

The writings of St. Faustina. and Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta, fit together like hand and glove. In these writings, it is obvious, to even the most skeptical, that God is preparing us for a new time and a new order. Through His Mercy, through His Forgiveness, and through His Pardon, He is opening the path for us to fully share His Heart, and to live fully and completely in His Divine Will, not only in the life to come, but here and now. Divine Mercy is the preparation for this new time and new order. We cannot harbor any bitterness, any sinfulness, or any injustice, and live in God's Will.

Jesus said, “the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.” In this great Feast, this Feast of Mercy and Forgiveness, this Feast of Pardon; the sins of those who seek His Mercy are forgiven. The price is paid, and we are restored to Our Good Lord's sanctifying grace. And so, we celebrate. Yes, we celebrate every abuse, every insult, every denunciation, and every wound Our Lord endured, because only through these are we restored to life.

But now, the mission is ours. As we have been shown Mercy, we are to show mercy to others. As we are forgiven, so we are to forgive. As we have been pardoned, so we, too, must pardon those who have sinned against us. This is the essence of Divine Mercy: to live fully in the Will of God, to live in union with Him - not only to be merciful, but to become Mercy itself.

My Jesus of Mercy, we trust in You.

Baruch Hashem