Mission Society of the Philippines

Homilies

2nd Sunday of Easter, Year A

SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER (A) DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY

In a small book The Little Prince by Antoine St Exupéry, a French writer who died in World War II, he wrote a memorable phrase “It is with the heart that can see rightly. What is invisible is visible to the eye.” This, I think, is what Divine Mercy in a nutshell. God’s love or mercy understands; loves us sinners though we are. God’s mercy makes us turn and change our ways to conversion.

In the first reading, it described the communal and spiritual life of the early Christian community in Jerusalem as St Luke wrote it in his second book The Acts of the Apostles. The early Christian community is faithful to the teachings of the apostles who taught them the words of Jesus as they remembered them. They pray and celebrate the Eucharist as it was known then as “the breaking of bread.” Sharing of goods according to others need was observed. That made them a happy and joyful community. Everyone is taken seriously as they strive to live out their Christian identity based on the gospel values of Christ. The spirit of the risen Christ permeates the lives of the early Christians. This is the model community in which any community aspires to be. The Benedictine community’s “ora et labora” (work and prayer) would come close to the Jerusalem community.

The Gospel today speaks about the appearance of the risen Lord to Thomas, after showing Himself first to the apostles while Thomas is not among them. Here the risen Lord confronted Thomas to do away with his doubts that the Lord has risen from the dead, as his fellow apostles testified to him. Jesus sees the sincerity of Thomas’s doubt as his weakness. Our Lord makes use of this doubt of Thomas to be turned into and become a real model of faith. It is a proclamation of a dramatic, resolute, public act of faith. Thomas’ “My Lord and my God” is a proclamation of the divinity of Jesus, who sat in glory at the right hand of God the Father. The risen Lord is once again sending his apostles on a mission. “Just as the Father has sent me, so I am sending you”. For the first time, Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit to his apostles mandating them to forgive sins.

The early church community at the time the gospel of John was written experienced the lingering, nagging question on the veracity of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Jesus’ showing his hand and side with its corresponding marks to the apostles and Thomas is a convincing proof, an evidence that he is not a ghost that they are seeing, but a real, living Jesus who was crucified, died and resurrected. There are signs and evidences that Jesus is truly risen from the dead. He has appeared to Simon Peter and other apostles while they were fishing on the Lake of Tiberias but caught nothing on that night. Inviting them to bring the fish they had caught and eat with him. Another sign is the breaking of bread with the two disciples who walked with Jesus going to Emmaus. We could also hear the prediction of Jesus of his impending death and rising at the hands of the Jewish authorities.

Today is the feast of the Divine Mercy or known also as the Divine Mercy Sunday. The mercy or love of God to a sinful humanity is manifested in his sending His only Son, Jesus. Our first parents have sinned, but they were promised redemption. The Responsorial Psalm sings “give thanks to God for he is good, His love is enduring.” He bestowed his mercy to the poor and the lowly but denied it to the rich and powerful, and the conceited of heart (Magnificat of Mary). God’s love makes him seek the lost sheep and bring it back to the fold. So just like with the prodigal son who come to his senses realizing the love of his father and his evil ways resolve to come back to his waiting father. God waits for us to come back to him.

My friends let us reflect on these questions to ourselves. Is my believing in Christ a matter of lip service only, reciting prayers and novenas only? Is my Catholic identity in name only doing good work in order to be recognised, or to use it for advancement of personal interest? Does my believing in Jesus allowed me to be concerned for the needs of others, and the concern for caring the earth our common home? Amen.

Fr. Jose Estaniel, MSP

Biñan, Laguna


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