SUNDAY: HOMILY FOR 2ND SUNDAY OF EASTER (YEAR A)
HOMILY THEME: DIVINE MERCY IN ACTION
BY: Fr Andrew Ekpenyong
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY
1. Easter Jokes. Proverbs 17:22 says “A cheerful heart is good medicine” and Easter should make us cheerful and joyful evn in the midst of suffering or war, knowing that death is temporary. Some people even make up Easter jokes and share. Here is one. A neighbor asked Joseph of Arimathea why he gave his beautiful hand-hewn tomb to someone else. Joseph replied, “Well, he only needed it for the weekend.” Sure enough, by Sunday morning, the tomb was empty. Our Lord, in His mercy, to help His disciples believe in His resurrection, appeared to them many times before His ascension. Today’s Gospel reading (Jn 20:19-31) pronounces a blessing on those who believe even without having seen Him physically. Jesus said to Thomas, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Today, there are billions who still need to hear the good-news.
2. Scripture. There are about 7.9 billion people today in the world and only about 30% of these are Christians (2.4 billion). Thus, about 5 Billion people in the world today do not explicitly acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Again, the task of sharing the good-news is still needed and urgently so. But even those who share the good-news can sometimes be afflicted by doubts, as Thomas was. Consider the fact that in Matthew 10:1, Jesus summoned His 12 disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Thus, not only did Thomas witness the greatest miracles of Jesus such as the restoration of Lazarus to life after four days in the grave, but Thomas was also given power by our Lord to heal people. These gifts did not prevent Thomas from facing what many of us do face: doubts, confusion, uncertainties. In regard to such human incredulity, our Lord made what I consider the saddest prediction in the whole of Scripture using His parable of Lazarus and the rich man: “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31). What does God do to address our incredulity? Divine Mercy still acts to bring us salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. We see many instances in today‘s set of readings.
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In the 1st reading (Acts 5:12-16) Divine Mercy brings about many signs and wonders among the people at the hands of the Apostles. The sick were cured. Even Peter’s shadow was sought after for healing. We still have holy water and other sacramentals in the Church today, as appurtenances of faith. In the 2nd reading (Rev 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19), Divine Mercy leads to Scripture being written. The First and the Last, the One who was dead but now alive forever, clearly, Christ Himself, told John on the Island of Patmos: “Write on a scroll what you see.” Yes, “verba volant, scripta manent”, (spoken words fly away, written words remain). The Bible, which contains God’s Word is given to us, to lead us to faith. Lastly, in the Gospel reading (Jn 20:19-31), even when we impose strange conditions as Thomas did, our Lord hears those strange conditions. He told Thomas: “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas was too shocked to raise his finger. He only exclaimed “My Lord and my God!” Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed!
3. Divine Mercy. Dear Sisters, dear Brothers, yes, today is Divine Mercy Sunday and God in Jesus Christ continues His work of reconciling us to Himself. The Divine Mercy drawing of Jesus based on the vision of St. Faustina shows Jesus raising his right hand in a gesture of blessing, with his left hand on his heart from which gush forth two rays, one red and white. The picture contains the message, “Jesus, I trust in you.” The red rays coming out from the heart of Jesus symbolize the blood of Jesus which washed away our sins and gave life to our souls, and white rays symbolize the baptismal water which forgave our original sin and made us children of God. In today’s Gospel, our Lord gave power to His Apostles to forgive sins in His name, instituting the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Divine Mercy continues salvific actions through the Word of God and the 7 Sacraments instituted by Christ including Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Christian marriage. May we be grateful recipients of Divine Mercy. May we joyfully share these gifts to the glory of God, for the salvation of many. Amen.
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