April 23 (22), 2017
2nd Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy)
Sat 4:30 pm & Sun 4:30 pm
Acts 2:42-47; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31
The Easter Season is 50 days in which it is a time above all others to rejoice in the fruits of the Paschal Mystery (the Passion, Death & Resurrection of Jesus Christ). It’s a time to sing Alleluia, even the double alleluia. And you know how us deacons here at Resurrection love to sing the double alleluia at the end of mass (LOL)!
We rejoice today as did the early Church. We heard in the 1st reading from the Acts of the Apostles, “Awe came upon everyone…in the breaking of the bread…as they ate their meals in exultation.” In the 2nd reading from St. Peter, “Rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy.” And in the Gospel, “The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” Now is the time above all others to rejoice!
But why do we rejoice? What is the reason for this glorious joy? St. Peter tells us because God, “Who in His great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” This is the reason to rejoice! We rejoice because Jesus through His resurrection has gained victory over sin and death! Because He is risen, we now have a way into heaven which had been closed off. If we have experienced Christ and accepted His mercy and His forgiveness we are an heir to the Kingdom of God and to all His promises! If we have experienced Christ in His mercy we now have hope where we had no hope before....But if you have not yet experienced Christ’s mercy, if you have not really seen Him yet like St. Thomas in today’s Gospel, the time is now to see Him and to believe. He waits for you to see Him and to touch Him, to experience Him. He waits for you to receive His love He offers youiHis H. He says to you with love as He said to Thomas, “Do not be unbelieving, but believe.” He is showing you His hands and His feet. Believe! Take that step of faith! He is speaking to you right now.
This Second Sunday of Easter is also “Divine Mercy Sunday”. It was established for the universal Church by the Holy See in the year 2000. The image of Christ in His Divine Mercy was given to St. Faustina (back wall). In the image there are two rays of light flowing from the heart of Christ: one is white representing the waters of Baptism; and the other is red representing the blood of Christ in the Eucharist. And in-between the two rays we can see the Sacrament of Reconciliation. These are the 3 “Sacraments of Mercy” empowered by the Paschal Mystery of Christ: His Passion, Death and Resurrection. His love and mercy, His way into Heaven, heirs to the Kingdom are there for us if we receive them. And if we do receive Him on a continuous basis, we have the reason to rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy!...Last Saturday night at the Easter Vigil we experienced indescribable and glorious joy as we baptized 2 adults, 23 children 1 baby. 11 received the Sacrament of Confirmation and 34 received their First Eucharist. The joy in this place was glorious! The Sacraments of Mercy were received and experienced…This is the joy we can all experience when we are open to the Risen Lord. If we place our hope and our faith in Him, if we receive His mercy, we will experience indescribable and glorious joy! A joy that cannot be explained but only experienced.
But at times in our lives it is not so easy to rejoice is it? We may be experiencing a season of trial, a season of burden: health, financial, family problems, etc. In times like these we are comforted by Jesus’s words in the Gospel, “Peace be with you.” Even though we may be in times of trial we can still rejoice because of the hope we have in the Risen Lord who has conquered all! Jesus enters in if we allow Him to, to offer us His peace that only He can give. In the Risen Lord we have peace in the midst of the storm because of the Resurrection. With Him the storm will pass.
But you might want to know why would a loving God allow us to go through difficult times? Because He cares more for the salvation of our souls than about our comfort. St. Peter tells us in the 2nd reading, “In this you rejoice although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Our faith and our salvation are more precious than even gold. Gold is purified by fire to remove impurities. The hotter the fire the more impurities are removed. Our faith is purified by the fire of trials where impurities are removed from us when we endure in and through the Risen Lord who has conquered all trials. Just as Jesus was victorious over the cross He will give us the victory over our crosses. And as our faith grows and is strengthened.
But what do we do with this glorious joy and hope that we have in Christ. Do we keep it to ourselves? No! We see the example and model of what we are to do in the early Church. In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles we hear what the early Church did with this joy of the Lord, “All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them all according to each one’s need.” The early church rejoiced in the Lord and they did not keep it to themselves. They in turn shared their blessings for the good of others and for the growth of the Church…We also are called to not keep our blessings to ourselves but to share a portion of our time, talent and treasure for the good of others, for the growth of the Church and for the salvation of souls. By the sharing of our blessings with a thankful, grateful, joyful heart we are following the ideal model of the early Church and of Christ Himself. We do this every Sunday as we come forward to the altar to offer a portion of our treasure for the day-to-day operation of our parish. We do this every month for the building of our new church where countless souls will experience the Risen Lord. We do this in ministry where we offer a portion of our time and talent for the good of the Church. Why do we do this? Because of the joy we have experienced in the Risen Lord. It is because of His joy within us that we offer ourselves and our blessings…True joy comes from the 3 letters J-O-Y (Jesus-Others-You).
In closing, Thomas would not believe until he seen and touched the Lord. We have seen and touched Him…we seen Him in each other and we see Him in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist. When we receive Him in faith in the Eucharist we become Eucharistic people sent out to share this indescribable and glorious joy. We become missionaries of Divine Mercy showing mercy as we have been shown mercy. As Jesus told the first disciples He tells us, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Receive the Risen Lord, touch Him and believe in Him. Share Him within our community and with the world.
Rejoice! The Lord is risen. Alleluia, alleluia!