There is no need to "torment" the faithful when they come to Confession, the pope said.
"It is necessary to understand their situation, to listen, to forgive and to offer good counsel so that they can move forward. God forgives everything and we must not close that door to people," he said.
Finally, the pope noted, Jesus says "Peace be with you" to the Apostle Thomas, who doubted the Lord's resurrection until he was able to put his hand in Jesus' wounds.
"There are times of difficulty when life seems to belie faith, moments of crisis when we need to touch and see. Like Thomas, it is precisely in those moments that we rediscover the heart of Christ, the Lord’s mercy," Pope Francis said.
"In those situations, Jesus does not approach us in triumph and with overwhelming proofs. He does not perform earth-shattering miracles, but instead offers us heartwarming signs of his mercy. He comforts us in the same way he did in today’s Gospel: he offers us his wounds. We must not forget this fact. In response to our sin, the Lord is always present offering us his wounds."
God's mercy often makes us more aware of our neighbors' wounds, the pope said, encouraging everyone to seek to help those suffering in mind or body, to bring peace to those suffering spiritually or physically, and to listen and bring comfort to another person. For in doing such things we "encounter Jesus," the pope said.
"We think that we are experiencing unbearable pain and situations of suffering, and we suddenly discover that others around us are silently enduring even worse things. If we care for the wounds of our neighbour and pour upon them the balm of mercy, we find being reborn within us a hope that comforts us in our weariness," the pope said.
Divine Mercy Sunday, celebrated the Sunday after Easter each year, was instituted by Pope St. John Paul II in 2000.
St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, a 20th-century Polish nun who received prophetic messages from Christ, received revelations about the infinite mercy of God – coined the “Divine Mercy” – and her obligation to spread the message to the world, as recorded in her diary, “Divine Mercy in my soul.”