Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Catholic Reflections 603 : Homily Second Sunday of Easter - A. Divine Mercy Sunday - Sunday, April 23, 2017

Homily Second Sunday of Easter - A. Divine Mercy Sunday - Sunday, April 23, 2017

THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading: Acts 2:42-47
Psalm: Ps 117:2-4. 13-15. 22-24. “
Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
Second Reading: 1 Peter 1:3-9
Gospel: John 20:19-31

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Please listen to my audio “blog” of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Second Sunday of Easter - A. Divine Mercy Sunday - Sunday, April 23, 2017 by clicking this link here: https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-easter-2-divine-mercy-sunday-year-a

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This Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday, where we recall the absolute mercy and love that Jesus has for all humanity.

Speaking of God’s divine mercy. God’s mercy is better and more profound than any human mercy or compassion could even imagine. We cannot downplay the significance of how different Jesus’ reunion with his disciples is after he rose from the dead, from how the expectations of the world might be… After all, Jesus had been betrayed and abandoned by most of his followers and almost all of his disciples. Only a few loyal women stayed with him through it all… his chosen disciples mostly scattered in fear. The one Jesus chose to be the rock on which he would build his church, denied him three times. Now he is risen and he returns to meet them… would not one expect (if this were merely an earthly drama), that there would be revenge, retribution, or at least an extended session of guilt trips and finger pointing… But no…. there is not a hint of judgement in our Lord’s return…. He does not even punish Thomas for his doubt and his demands before he would believe the news that Our Lord had indeed risen.

Christ meets Thomas where he is at.. and shows Thomas what he needed to be assured… he shows him his hands and side… That is mercy. That is compassion. It is also service and love. This is God’s ways which are so very different from many of the ways of the world….

In the Easter narratives…. “The risen Jesus is encountered by different disciples in different situations and different ways….

• Mary Magdalene recognised the risen Jesus only when he called her by name.

• The two disciples travelling along the road towards Emmaus, did not realise WHO this stranger was who walked along with them…. until they saw him break bread ….. and then they realised that their hearts had already been burning with fervour as they had walked along the road….. but they had not recognised the signs of Christ’s presence …. But the disciples would get better and better at recognising Christ in the Eucharist… and in the word of God and in the stranger… and in the burning energy of God’s good news…

• and then again today….. some people do not recognise Jesus until they touch the wounds of the suffering one…..

May we continue to recognise Christ’s presence, whenever we touch the woundedness of those around us and offer support and strength….

 The common interpretation of this scene of St Thomas doubting … is that he is doubting that Jesus had been raised from the dead. ……..But if we look at this incident very carefully, it could be argued that in fact; it is not Jesus whom Thomas doubts, but rather, Thomas is expressing doubt in his fellow disciples. In fact, when Jesus appears to them seven days later, Thomas has the opportunity to share in the experience of the Risen Lord and, like the others, he immediately confesses Easter faith.

So, this passage can also be saying….. do not be tempted to doubt the proclamation of the Disciples…. Which is the constant message of the church throughout its two thousand and more years of history,… that Jesus is truly risen…. Even if we have not seen it for ourselves and touched the very wounds of the risen Christ, … we trust in the testimony of those apostles who did see him and who did touch his hand and side and took broken bread from his hands…. and whose words are written in scripture so that we now share in their message and believe, and also share fully in the life of the risen Lord, that Jesus offers us to us all….

The first reading gives a picture of the early Christian church community as it grows in numbers and in strength, with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The apostles are doing what Jesus did. Jesus is working in and through them. The first reading mentions that they all met by common agreement, and it illustrates in the first reading, some ways in which this Christian community was a powerful source of Christ’s healing to those in need. 

We need the community…. And we need that important gathering together to unite our hearts and minds to that of Christ and his gospel…. We know implicitly that coming together as the Body of Christ, the church, is never an added extra… there is no such thing as a solo Christian… even when we work at times individually….we are nevertheless united in a common bond with Christ and one another. The community of disciples, the church, ensures that we are always one in Christ…. And not merely walking to the beat of our own individual drum………… nor making up our own faith and practice as we go.

In a world where individualism is strong and a deeply valued quality….. the idea of being united and focusing on unity (in Christ), whilst at the same time not denying the value of unity in diversity, is a careful balancing act, not to be taken lightly…

Jesus wants us to be ONE IN HIM….. he wants to unite us in the communion of his loving relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus wants us to be united in the belief and experience of him as the Risen Son of God… who invites us to share in his life and participate in his Kingdom forever. 

 We pray for the grace to be people of unity and healing…. who constantly act and work in ways that build up unity, protects against fragmentation…..

 We pray for the ability to see and act in ways that put the needs of others up there with our needs….. so that we might see the whole picture of our participation in one big family….. and not just a lifelong ‘solo act’.

Thomas, in the gospel, is so inspiring…. he doubted….but he did not leave…. he was still with the disciples the next week….. he struggled…..but the others did not reject him……. and Jesus strengthened him in his struggle and doubts……….. at times in life… we will have doubts and fears…… Jesus shows us all that we are right to trust in his promises, even when we do not always experience the confirmation of the truth of these promises with our own eyes, hands and ears…… Thomas is a gift to us in another way. He shows us that the apostles were not gullible or foolish. What they experienced in the Risen Jesus was the experience of sensible people, just like you and me. Thinking people, who do not easily swallow everything we are told, but nevertheless, they truly did experience Jesus risen body and soul and this is what they have steadfastly passed on to all future generations. This is the testimony of sensible, deep-thinking people who know what they mean and mean what they say. 

Today we know that Our Lord is certainly worth trusting in, and all his promises are true….. we can thank Thomas for Jesus confirming that for all future generations…. including us here and now….


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References:

Fr Paul W. Kelly

A BOOK OF GRACE-FILLED DAYS. BY Alice Camille

Richard J. Leonard.

MONASTERY OF CHRIST IN THE DESERT. ABBOT’S HOMILY.

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Second Sunday of Easter - A. Divine Mercy Sunday


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Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
Lord Jesus, you are mighty God and Prince of peace. Lord have mercy// You are Son of God and the Son of Mary. Christ have mercy// You are Word made flesh, the splendour of the Father. Lord have mercy.
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Memorial Acclamation

When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again.

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Preparation of the Gifts
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life.
       Blessed be God forever.

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink.
       Blessed be God forever.
Pray, brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God,
the almighty Father.
 May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church.

Easter I p.24

Euch Prayer II p.56

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Go forth the Mass is ended, Alleluia, Alleluia




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