HOMILY FOR THE SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR B
HOMILY THEME: AS THE FATHER HAS SENT ME, SO I SEND YOU
BY: Fr. Cosmas Ukadike CM
As we continue to celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we praise him for restoring our hope in God. He joins us in this celebration by his visits to his disciples both individually and collectively, to show that he has truly risen as he said.
Today’s gospel presents us with the events of the first and second visits of Jesus to his apostles, who were still locked up in a room for fear of the Jews (Jn 20, 19-31).
He did not only come to dispel and expel their fears, he also came to empower them with his spirit to continue his mission of reconciling people with the Father:
“Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (Jn 20, 22-23). With these words Jesus instituted the sacrament of reconciliation for the forgiveness of sins and at the same time he entrusted the powers to continue this office of reconciliation which is proper to him, to his Apostles, whose representatives today are the bishops and priests; the Alter Christus.
The priest is indeed another Christ by virtue of ordination and so he acts in persona Christi, that is, the priest acts in the Name and Person of Christ.
This power expressly comes from Jesus’ mandate of today to his Apostles; As the Father has sent me, so I send you (vs 21).
“To send” comes from the Greek word apostelo. And Apostles are those who are ordained and sent forth to represent another; the Master. On this divine mercy Sunday, the merciful Jesus reminds us that mercy is at the heart of his mission.
This is true because he did not only forgive our sins and teach us to forgive those who trespass against us, but also he instituted the sacrament of reconciliation, where men and women can seek and find the mercy of God.
This he established precisely on the Easter evening; the evening of his resurrection (vs 19). He gave the powers of forgiving sins and reconciling people with God to his apostles, so that as long as the world lasts, men and women may constantly experience the mercy of God. This is not to encourage us to fall into sin, but an avenue of telling sinners that God still loves them and wants them back to himself.
Now that we are aware of God’s love and mercy for sinners, it is time to return to him. Like the merciful father of the prodigal son in Luke’s gospel, the Lord is taking the initiative to extend his hands of fellowship to us his wandering children, to come back to him.
May the celebration of this divine mercy Sunday inspire the need in us to seek and find the mercy of our God, and to show mercy to all those who hurt us.
Have a blessed day.
Fr. Cosmas Ukadike, C.M