Today, on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday, our beloved Pope John Paul II has passed from this life in the flesh. Because of our great faith and hope in the merits and mercy of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and because John Paul served the Lord Jesus with such great love, we can have a firm hope that his soul is resting in the bosom of the Triune God, and that he will be resurrected on the last day to live with God forever in a transfigured body in the Heavenly Jerusalem.
I think that we can also believe that he is already beseeching God on our behalf. Today many people from around the world prayed the ninth prayer of the Divine Mercy Novena. This last prayer of the novena pleads to God to immerse in the abyss of His mercy the souls of those who have become lukewarm in their Christian discipleship. For this to be the last prayer of the novena, prayed on the day of this Pope’s death, is quite interesting. It may be the last witness of this successor of Peter to the authentic movement of the Holy Spirit in the Church today. When he was among us in the flesh, as the chosen vicar of Christ on earth, John Paul prophesied that a new springtime of Christian evangelization was coming, where Catholics will be impelled to preach the Gospel in its purity and simplicity as the Love of God in Christ, and the call to salvation by repentance and a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. In the divine mercy prayer we speak to Jesus, and say: “In this fire of Your pure love let these tepid souls, who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.”
Is not this prayer beseeching the mercy of God for lukewarm souls (oh, how lukewarm I have been!) a fitting prayer to help usher in the fire and zeal of the Holy Spirit in the Church? Can we doubt that the man who inspired us and preached to us the necessity of recovering this zeal, saying “Do not be afraid! Open the doors wide to Christ!” is now interceding before God that we might receive it? And so, is not Christ now knocking at the doors of our hearts? Is not the new evangelization on the brink of realization? Does not Christ at this moment stand at the right hand of the Father, ready to pour the Holy Spirit upon the docile among his believers?
Let us open our hearts to Christ this day. Let us repent of our sins, especially the sin of lukewarmness. Let us be docile to the Spirit who enflames our hearts with living water and who calls us to preach the Gospel to every creature, not to the spirit that waters down the flame of the Gospel and replaces it with a political fervor to remake the Church according to the image of the “enlightened” of the world.
– Mark John