April 8, 2018

A HOMILY FOR THE SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER (DIVINE MERCY) –  APRIL 8TH, 2018 – SMG

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

What would you do if you heard that someone you loved very much, a family member, a close friend, who had just died a couple days earlier, had risen from the dead?  We’d be pretty shocked, wouldn’t we?  Wouldn’t we want to talk to those who were saying this?  Wouldn’t we want to know for sure, what was going on?  I mean, If a loved one had risen from the dead, wouldn’t you want to see him or her right away?  Wouldn’t you go to the tomb yourself, and see of the body were still there or not?  And if the story was not true, wouldn’t you want to put an end to false rumor as soon as possible?  I mean, such a terrible lie would have been so hurtful to the deceased person’s family and friends.  It would be cruel.  If we heard that someone that we loved who had died, had risen from the dead, I think there’s all kinds of things that we would be doing, and that we should be doing!  These guys have just heard some really amazing news.  And what are the Eleven Apostles doing?  Well, they’re hiding out.  They’re in a room with the doors locked, because they are afraid.  And remember, this is still Easter day!  They would have only heard the news about Jesus’ Resurrection a few hours earlier.  Mary Magdalen and the other women would have told them.  Peter and John had also both been out to the tomb.  Certainly some of the others must have gone out there that day also, just to see for themselves.  So now it’s evening, and what are they doing?  They’re hiding out.  They are terrified.  One of them, Thomas, isn’t even there.  So it’s not really the whole Eleven, but it’s just the Ten.  And where was Thomas on that evening of the Resurrection?  What was he doing?  Why wasn’t he there? Inquiring minds want to know!   Was he wallpapering his bathroom?  Or what?

And why weren’t they celebrating?  Can you imagine how incredibly happy almost all of us would be, if one our loved one came from the dead?  Where’s the party?  Where’s the celebration?  Where’s the praise and thanks to God?  These guys are terrified, and worried, and confused.  And that’s when the Risen Lord Jesus walks in through the door!  And in that instant, everything changes!  It would be the last sad Easter that any of them would ever have.  And a week later, Thomas would get the message.  And Thomas utters the words that all eleven of them had come to understand, “My Lord and my God!”.  And they came to believe, and to have Faith.

This Resurrection appearance of Jesus on Easter night, and then a week later, again, to make sure that St. Thomas was included, was a very healing moment for the Apostles.  These guys were still grieving from the Friday before, their lives and their plans were shattered.  Plus, there was the element that all the Apostles, had let Jesus down, and disappointed him, when they ran, and didn’t stick with Him during His arrest, and trial, and torture, and death.  So this first Resurrection appearance was vitally important.  Jesus’ greeting of “Peace be with you!” was very important.  There’s a very important healing that is taking place in that locked room on that first Easter night.  We can almost imagine the stale air and oppressive smell in a room shut away from the world.  Jesus comes into that locked room and appears to them like a fresh breeze filling the house, getting rid of the stale air of fear, blowing away the dust of disappointment, and bringing with Him, forgiveness and healing for the Apostles!

It is so important for us to recognize this healing and mercy today.  Two-thousand years ago, the Apostles were made witnesses to one of the greatest things that God has ever done in this world: the Resurrection.  That Resurrection was made real for each one of them, even Thomas, by the healing, and mercy, and love that they experienced in the Risen Jesus Christ.   He was not dead.  He was very much alive!  And He was still doing miracles in the lives of those who followed Him!

Today, for us, it’s a week after Easter.  It is the end of our Octave of Easter.   And it’s Divine Mercy Sunday!  And today, that same Risen Lord, Jesus Christ, Who, by the way, is STILL VERY MUCH ALIVE, comes into our lives, and wants to bring us His healing and forgiveness.  Today, we are the ones who hear “Peace be with you!”   And today, we, just like the Apostles two-thousand years ago, we not only hear this, we not only also are the recipients of this peace, this forgiveness, and this healing, but today in 2018 we are the witnesses of just exactly what this Risen Jesus Christ can do.  And we must bear witness to it!  We’ve got to get out there and tell people.  We’ve got to get out there and show people.  Today, whether or not the Gospel of Jesus Christ lives or dies depends on us!  You and me!  Not Peter.  Not John.  Not Mary Magdalen.  Not Marcellenius.  But us!  Are we bearing witness to His healing and mercy?   Do those we work with, those we go to school with, those we live next to, those who wait in line with us at the grocery store, do those people know Jesus’ healing and mercy, because they see it in us?  They need to!  We are constantly bearing witness to Jesus Christ.  The question is, are we giving a good witness, or are we giving a bad witness?  The Church doesn’t need any more bad witnesses.  It’s time for all of us to step up!

The need for God’s mercy and healing is as great today as it ever has been, certainly as great as it was in the first century.  Maybe that’s why St. Pope John Paul II declared today to be Divine Mercy Sunday.  At the very heart of our faith is the recognition that we all need the Risen Christ.  We need His healing and we need His steadfast mercy.   Without these we are lost, unable to be reconciled with God.  This week, as we continue to celebrate the Resurrection, let each one of us open our own hearts to that healing and then commit ourselves to be true witnesses of that healing in our words and actions.  It’s time for the Church to be busy.  Let’s do our best!

+  May God bless us today,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…                       AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…        Pray for us !!!