HOMILY FOR THE SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR B
HOMILY THEME: PEACE BE WITH YOU; BY HIS GREAT MERCY WE HAVE BEEN BORN ANEW.
BY: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
READINGS: Acts 4: 32-35, Ps. 118: 2-4.15-18.22-24, 1 Jn. 5: 1-7, Jn. 20: 19-31
Since the pontificate of Pope St. John Paul II, he has decreed liturgically that second Sunday after Easter Sunday called the Low Sunday or the Octave Day of Easter be called Divine Mercy Sunday and thus be celebrated. In his encyclical letter: Dives et Misericordia, the Pope reminded us about who God is; unimaginably merciful and asked the children of the Church to come to the throne of mercy and receive freely, grace upon grace. This is the devotion championed by Blessed Sr. Maria Faustina, a simple holy Nun in the 1930s and it has remained the fastest growing devotion in the Church. Mercy means pity or forgiveness shown to an offender or an enemy who has done wrong when the power and authority to deal with him/her is in the hand of the one who issues mercy instead of punishment due. It is something or virtuous act that one has to be grateful for, it is not merited but gratuitous. Note that wherever mercy is shown, peace comes to reign.
Divine mercy of God is simple: It means that God so loves the world with an everlasting and unimaginable and unmerited love. It is an act of God that makes us recognize that his mercy is greater than our sins. The world committed great atrocity against God their creator and deserved death and condemnation but God the one offended decided to show the world mercy instead of what is due and just. The early Christians were moved by that virtue of pity and mercy by bringing what they had for the have not’s to share so that none can be in serious want. These early Christians meet on the first day of the week to re-enact the death and resurrection of Christ; they read the scriptures and break bread. Yes this is supported and motivated by what Jesus made the first day of the week to be in the new dispensation other than the old Jewish way. Sunday becomes very prominent in the life of Christ and the disciples. Little wonder then the gospel talks of the evening of that day, the first day of the week (Sunday).
The appearance of Jesus to the micro Church and the disciples on this day gave them the most important gift that the world lacks and needs so much- PEACE. Yes, Jesus was in the world and knew the world lacks peace and without peace, religion and belief in God, communal life, development, progress and anything that can augment human life or promote the dignity of the human person was not possible. He had to give the first post-resurrection gift of peace to the disciples who even at that moment lacked peace in their heart and minds, troubled by the yeast of the Jewish authorities. Fear speaks of lack of peace; that explains why the disciples stayed in locked-up rooms. In this predicament, the disciples had momentary peace and joy which did not last. Eight days later, they were still in locked up rooms when Jesus repeated his visit and entered. He gave them again this gift of peace. Why is humanity merciless to the powerless and harmless?
Beloved, the mercy of God has come to give us peace from our troubled world; this is the peace that the world cannot give. He asks us to receive this peace so as to give it to others; no one can give what he does not have. Let us stop terrorizing others, stop intimidating them and putting them in anxiety and tension for these creatures of God deserve to use this gift of peace and mercy God has given them. Without this peace, how can they be free to executive the mandate to evangelize the world or move out to use the key to forgive? This will make then to retain sins and not to forgive since their heart knows no peace and never received mercy. Where there is no peace forgives is a mirage. We pray that humanity would find reason to give praise to God for his mercy endures forever. Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf