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“Doubt no longer, but believe.”

Since the year 2000, the Roman Catholic Church has marked the eighth day of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday, thereby giving formal ecclesiastical approval to the popular devotion introduced in the 1930s by Saint Faustina Kowalska.

She testified that she received a series of revelations from the Risen Christ—one of the key promises being that anyone who made their confession around Easter and received Holy Communion on the 2nd Sunday would receive full pardon and remission for all of their sins, no matter how grave. Like many other devotions, the Divine Mercy has its doubters, so it’s probably fitting that the feast coincides every year with the famous Gospel about the doubting Thomas. Thomas refused to believe in the Resurrection even though he’d personally seen Jesus work many miracles and even though he had the testimony of friends and fellow disciples he should have trusted. In that sense, his doubt wasn’t really rational. A similar observation might be applied to those who question Christ’s willingness to dispense the extraordinary forgiveness of Divine Mercy. The first part of today’s Gospel reminds us that Christ personally gave the Church effectively unconditional authority to forgive sins. Therefore—even without reference to St. Faustina’s revelation—the Church certainly has the power to make good on the promise of Divine Mercy if it so chooses. Given that Christ also died so that all sinners might be forgiven, there’s no good reason to doubt that he’d approve.

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