Sunday, April 8, 2018

April 8 - Second Sunday of Easter - Divine Mercy

2nd Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy) – April8, 2018

I –They were of one heart and mind.
R –Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
II – Whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.
A – You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord; blessed are those who have not seen me, but still believe.
G –Eight days later Jesus came and stood in their midst.

+ Today the Church continues rejoicing in the celebration of Easter Day! We have reached the Octave (Eighth) Day and the Solemn Celebration is now complete! But, could we really stop celebrating Easter? for seven weeks more we will celebrate the season of Easter, and then of course, we know that every Day of the Sun for the remainder of the Church calendar year is a continuation of the celebration of this one Easter Day! 

On this octave day then, we still bask in the radiance of Jesus come back to life – but this time to a newness of life, a fullness, a richness that we are all invited to share in and participate in. Jesus demonstrated it again in the gospel passage today: “on the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus (just suddenly appeared) and stood in their midst!” We too – will be able to use preternatural gifts of appearing suddenly here and there, in heaven.

Then Jesus said to them: Peace be with you! and then he showed them his hands and his sides! Why would he do that? Why did Jesus choose to keep his scars and wounds visible? it is because they were his trophies! they were his proof positive that he loves each and every one of us that much – to be able to suffer the horrible death of crucifixion for us – so that our sins could be forgiven, and that we would live forever after what is now just a mere formality of physical death!

Then to inaugurate the concrete and very real sacramental distribution of his forgiveness, Jesus breathes on the Eleven and says: receive the Holy Spirit – whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained. He did three things at this point: he sent the Holy Spirit into their beings in an unprecedented sort of way: he empowered them to forgive sins in his name and person, and he made them true and authentic judges of each situation: only those who show contrition and sorrow for true sin and have a purpose of amendment will be forgiven: and he gives these, his first priests, the faculties to make the call!

The Divine Mercy of God is now available to be poured out on mankind in a most powerful way, like the blood and water that poured forth from his pierced heart! This is the mercy that forgave Adam and Eve, it is the mercy that reestablished friendship between God and mankind, this is the mercy that even the most hardened sinner can rely on and call upon – and this day’s secondary title: Divine Mercy Sunday – ties it all together!

It only makes sense that the mirror image, end celebration of the Easter Octave be spelled out as a Mercy Sunday, just as Easter Sunday spells out irrevocably that everything now is completely different than it was before the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth! Now, it is Jesus who is undisputed Lord, King and Savior of the world; and sooner or later everyone will come to understand that and have the opportunity to believe it and thus access all the benefits of it – and its chief benefit is MERCY!

Thomas of course, needed proof that it was really Jesus who was alive; and he got his proof a week after Easter as we read in the gospel passage: and what he ought to be more remembered for than his doubt, is the magnificent act of faith that he made in all of its stark simplicity: and then Thomas answered: My Lord and my God! Jesus then said: Thomas there will be some who believe because I will reveal myself to them in special ways, but the greater majority will not really see me, but they will believe in me, and your words just spoken here, will help them! Once they believe that I am their Lord, and I am their God! I am their Savior, then their lives will never be the same! Thank you Thomas for being the first of a long line of people who will love me enough to adore me and serve me with all their hearts!

Yes, the stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. By the Lord has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes!

Alleluia! Amen! Alleluia!

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