The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.
With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need. (Acts 4:32-35)
Reading this passage from the Book of Acts, it’s hard to believe today those early Christians lived as of one heart and mind, holding everything in common, selling all and giving the proceeds to the apostles to distribute as they saw fit. It strikes us as extraordinary that they could have trusted the Lord that much to provide for them and to be cared for with mercy and loving kindness. Yet Scripture assures us they did. How many of us today would feel confident enough in the Lord to live such a life? How many of us believe at the core of our being that God wants more to have us with him for eternity than to punish us for our sins?
Consider the elderly gentleman facing surgery, terrified of what might happen if he doesn’t survive the procedure. He has practiced his faith his whole life, and yet he still can’t believe that Jesus would welcome him home. Wouldn’t you want to encourage this man with the good news of God’s mercy? What about those who have distanced themselves from God and indulged in sin and rebellion? Could there be mercy for them? Should they dare to trust after living such a self-destructive life? Absolutely!
The feast of Divine Mercy Sunday came at the urging of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, a Polish religious sister and visionary who lived at the beginning of the twentieth century. In her diary, she wrote how Jesus had told her: “I will pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of my mercy. . . . Let no one fear to draw near to me, even though their sins be as scarlet” (Diary, 699).
During the week after Easter, we are encouraged to celebrate Jesus’ loving kindness. We are reminded why Jesus rose from the dead: to shower the world with divine mercy. Now, unless we reject him outright, he will never deny us. Today of all days, don’t be afraid to draw near to the Lord. You may suffer trials, you may struggle against temptation, or you may fall into sin. But don’t worry. As St. Peter tells us, we may not see God now, but we can still rejoice because Jesus has done everything necessary to save us (1 Peter 1:8). That’s how merciful he is. So celebrate his mercy today—by receiving it!
As Peter walked through the streets of Jerusalem, many people brought their sick friends and relatives to him “in order that Peter’s shadow might fall on one or another of them. . . . And they were all cured” (Acts 5:15, 16). It was such a simple act, taking a friend to the side of the road, but it resulted in amazing miracles. Jesus didn’t wait for them to drum up heroic faith. All they needed was to take one small step, and he came running to them.
This is the message that God gave St. Faustina. “The graces of mercy,” Jesus once told her, “are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive.” Or to put it another way: Everyone who trusts—receives!
God has so much in store for us! If we simply go to meet him in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we will find the divine mercy that we so deeply need. Jesus is waiting for us to take one step toward him, and he will rush in with his forgiveness, his healing, and his strength. His love is beyond words and, for the sake of his passion, he has mercy on us.