April 23, 2017

A HOMILY FOR THE SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER – CYCLE “A” –  4/23/17  –  SMG

+  Pax et Bonum!    Peace and goodness to you this day!

There are many ways of telling that it is a week after Easter.  First of all, your refrigerator is probably empty of all the ham and the boiled eggs from last week.  You either ate it all, or tossed them by the end of the week.  If you put up any Easter decorations, my guess, is that they are probably down by now.  And probably the biggest indicator that Easter was a week ago, is that most of the Easter candy is gone.  Oh, there may be a few jelly beans left, the white ones, or the purple ones, that have that strange taste.  But all of the Reese’s eggs, and Cadbury eggs, and Peeps, are probably gone.  Easter will be back next year.  And for most folks, that’s Easter.

But not for us as Catholics!  We’re just getting started.  In fact, today, it is still the Octave of Easter!  This means that today is just like last Sunday!  The lilies are even more in bloom this week.  The Easter candle has only burnt down a little bit.  It still takes a stool or ladder to light the thing!  We’re still singing all kinds of songs with the word, “Alleluia” in them.  Nope, for us, Easter is just getting started.  And on this Second Sunday of Easter, as we have since the year 2000, we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday!  Meaning, that today we not only continue to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, but we also celebrate His Divine Mercy for all of us who have sinned!  This is important stuff, because Jesus could have come back from the dead, very angry at us, for having to die for our sins.  Instead, Jesus comes back offering all of us, His love and forgiveness, His mercy!

All three of our readings today show us this message from God!  Both the first and second readings tell us about how people lived peaceful and blessed lives as they rejoiced in the Lord’s resurrection.  In our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we hear how the early Christians lived together in peace.  They shared everything.  They prayed together.  They enjoyed living in community. God protects them and adds to their numbers greatly!  The Church flourishes as they celebrate together the resurrection.

Secondly, the First Letter of St. Peter, which we read from for our second reading, also speaks of the blessings, that the early Christians enjoyed.  Peter clearly identifies the source of this mercy, this grace, as the resurrection of Jesus Christ!  We trust in this.  Especially as we come here today!

Finally, the Gospel also shows us God’s mercy in action.  Jesus appears to the disciples for the first time after His resurrection.  And He’s not mad or upset.  He’s not trying to scare them.  In fact, the first thing He always says is to wish them peace!  And when Thomas is not there.  When Thomas doubts the resurrection to be true.  When Thomas is weak, and wants to see the physical evidence.  Jesus accommodates even his unbelief!  This loving acceptance of Thomas is an integral part of Divine Mercy.  Our God loves us even when we don’t understand, and even when we doubt, and even when we have trouble believing.  We may quit on God.  But God will never quit on us!  Thomas represents us in all of our various weaknesses.  As He did with Thomas, Jesus strengthens us when we have doubts, and raises each one of us above our human frailties.  Jesus brings us all back into communion with the Father!  And this is Good News!  And this keeps Easter going, and going, and going.  Just like the Energizer bunny!

What an incredible love God has for us!  It is so worth celebrating for more than just one day!  God showers His mercy on all of us, bringing us back into relationship with Him!  Today, as we contemplate the wonder of such love and mercy, let us show our gratitude by living as Jesus taught us when He was with us, by loving one another, and by showing mercy ourselves, to those we encounter every day!

Our Easter has just begun!  The Lord is risen from the dead, it is true!  He lives for us, even in 2017!  This is too big to celebrate for just one day!  Buy some more chocolate.  Boil some more eggs.  Plant some new flowers.  Jesus is risen from the dead!  Alleluia, Alleluia!

+ May God bless us, as we continue to celebrate His resurrection and mercy,  Father, Son, and Holy       Spirit…                                                                                                                                                                        AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…                         Pray for us !!!