Vatican City, 13 April 2015 (VIS) – At midday on Divine Mercy Sunday, following the celebration of Holy Mass in the Vatican Basilica for the faithful of Armenian Rite, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the Regina Coeli with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. Before the Marian prayer, the Pontiff addressed those present.
“Today is the eighth day after Easter, and the Gospel of St. John tells of the two appearances of the Resurrected Jesus to the apostles gathered in the Upper Room. … The first time, the Lord shows the disciples the wounds on His body. … But Thomas was not present that evening, and he did not believe the account given by the others. … Eight days after – precisely like today – Jesus returned among them and turned immediately to Thomas, inviting him to touch the wounds on His hands and on His side. He reaches out to his incredulity so that, through the signs of the Passion, he is able to reach the fullness of Paschal faith: faith in the resurrection of Jesus”.
“Thomas is a person who is not easily satisfied, a seeker who wishes to check in person, to attain his own personal experience. After his initial resistance and uneasiness, he too finally reaches the point of believing. ... Jesus awaits him patiently and is attentive to the difficulties and insecurities of the last man to arrive. … [Thomas] was able to 'touch' the paschal Mystery that fully demonstrates God's salvific love, rich in mercy. And like Thomas, we too, on this second Sunday of Easter, are invited to contemplate, in the wounds of the Risen Christ, the Divine Mercy that overcomes every human limit and shines through the darkness of evil and sin”.
Francis explained that the upcoming Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy will be an intense and prolonged period for welcoming the immense wealth of God's merciful love, and emphasised that the Face of Mercy is Jesus Christ. “Let us keep our gaze upon Him, He Who always seeks us, awaits us, forgives us … and may the Virgin Mary help us to be merciful towards others, as Jesus is with us”.
After the Marian prayer, the Pope greeted those present, especially pilgrims attending the Holy Mass in the Church of the Holy Spirit in Sassia, centre for devotion to Divine Mercy. He mentioned the neocatechumenical communities of Rome, which are beginning a special mission in the city's squares to pray and offer witness of their faith, and congratulated the Oriental Churches which, according to their calendar, celebrate Easter. Finally, he gave thanks for the many Easter greetings that he has received from all over the world.