Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday)
The story of Creation in the Book of Genesis brings to us significant characteristics of God’s call to order in this world:
a) God brings life to a seemingly lifeless situation, puts order to a chaotic condition, and creates man in His own image and likeness.
b) God allows man to take possession of His creation, enjoy His care in it, and to make it productive, but not to abuse His goodness.
c) God commands Adam and Eve to be productive and to stay away from the tree in the middle of the garden.
From a lifeless situation God’s Word brought life and order, God’s Word produced a suitable living place for man, and God’s Word brought order to man and to the world.
The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is a re-creation and a re-formation of His people, as we consider that:
a) Jesus does not only bring life to Himself, but also brings new life to those who are dead in sin and to those who trust in Him.
b) There is a renewed possession by Christ of men and women who turn to Him, and also a renewed possession of Jesus by those who accept Him especially in the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation.
c) As the Apostles were sent to the world, so also are we sent into a world of chaos brought about by selfishness, indifference and its insatiable search for earthly pleasures. We are sent with peace to a world that has no peace, because it has lost its sense of the presence of God. We are sent to a world hungry for hope and love, to bring forgiveness and reconciliation, so that peace may again reign in the hearts of men. Yes, Jesus proclaims: “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (Jn 20:21-23).
Today we also celebrate the Sunday of the Divine Mercy, the Mercy of God. His mercy is not a static gift to us. His mercy is a mission for us, a life of being sent to the world to bring forgiveness and reconciliation. This mission given to us is not to be kept as a gift for ourselves only, but as a gift to the world. YOU are God’s gift to the world, gift to all who need His mercy, His forgiveness and His peace.
The Resurrection of Jesus in us has several characteristics:
a) Restored Life: from death and slavery to sin and evil to a life of holiness and of glory in God.
b) Renewed relationship in Christ. Any sin, small or big, deserves damnation, but the death and resurrection of Jesus gives us the opportunity to return to Him through the power of forgiveness that He gave to Peter and to His Church, particularly through the Sacraments.
c) His Resurrection carries a divine command: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (Jn 20:23). The life of purity given to us in baptism is restored in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We become a new creation. This is our Passover from death through sin to life through Jesus. This experience is given to us by the Church, because “it is not sin which is at the heart of the sacramental celebration but rather God’s mercy, which is infinitely greater than any guilt of ours” (Pope Benedict XVI, On the Sacrament of Confession, March 7, 2008). So when we come to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, it’s not because we know or do not know the priest, or the priest is young or old, or we are shy or afraid. It is because we seek the mercy of God and He wants us to return to Him.
Thomas responds to Jesus’ invitation to put his fingers into the holes of His hands and hand into Jesus’ side: “My Lord and my God!” This is our response to Jesus’ invitation to see Him in the hurts of people and society, in our growth in holiness, in our acts of hope and love for Jesus, in our availability to serve His Church and His people, for as Peter proclaims, “in his great mercy [He] gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pt 1:3), the hope of all who trust in Him and follow His commands.
The Eucharist is the most powerful sign of God’s love for us. It is also the most effective food that fills our hearts with the wisdom that only God can give. Let us renew our commitment to walk in the ways of Jesus, whose overflowing mercy reaches to the ends of the world and endures forever. May we always experience the love of Jesus in our hearts, and become instruments of His Divine Mercy for the salvation of the world.