April 12, 2015: Second Sunday of Easter Divine Mercy Sunday
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
Conflict cannot be ignored or concealed. It has to be faced. But if we remain trapped in conflict, we lose our perspective, our horizons shrink and reality itself begins to fall apart. In the midst of conflict, we lose our sense of the profound unity of reality. (226)
This principle, drawn from the Gospel, reminds us that Christ has made all things one in himself: heaven and earth, God and man, time and eternity, flesh and spirit, person and society. The sign of this unity and reconciliation of all things in him is peace. Christ “is our peace” (Eph 2:14). The Gospel message always begins with a greeting of peace, and peace at all times crowns and confirms the relations between the disciples. Peace is possible because the Lord has overcome the world and its constant conflict “by making peace through the blood of his cross” (Col 1:20). But if we look more closely at these biblical texts, we find that the locus of this reconciliation of differences is within ourselves, in our own lives, ever threatened as they are by fragmentation and breakdown. If hearts are shattered in thousands of pieces, it is not easy to create authentic peace in society. (229)
Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis
First Reading: Acts 4:32-35
Psalm: 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
Second Reading: 1st John 5:1-6
Gospel: John 20:19-31 (Gospel is for Cycles A, B and C)
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The transmission of the Christian faith consists primarily in proclaiming Jesus Christ in order to lead others to faith in him. From the beginning, the first disciples burned with the desire to proclaim Christ: “We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”1 It and they invite people of every era to enter into the joy of their communion with Christ: That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life – the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us – that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. and we are writing this that our joy may be complete (425)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Second Sunday of Easter, Cycle B
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
The promise of peace that runs through the entire Old Testament finds its fulfilment in the very person of Jesus.Peace, in fact, is the messianic attribute par excellence, in which all other beneficial effects of salvation are included. The Hebrew word “shalom” expresses this fullness of meaning in its etymological sense of “completeness” (cf. Is 9:5ff;Mic5:1-4). The kingdom of the Messiah is precisely the kingdom of peace (cf.Job 25:2; Ps 29:11; 37:11; 72:3,7; 85:9,11; 119:165; 125:5, 128:6; 147:14;Song 8:10;Is 26:3,12; 32:17f.; 52:7; 54:10; 57:19; 60:17; 66:12;Hag2:9;Zech 9:10; et al.). Jesus “is our peace” (Eph 2:14). He has broken down the dividing wall of hostility among people, reconciling them with God (cf.Eph 2:14-16). This is the very effective simplicity with which Saint Paul indicates the radical motivation spurring Christians to undertake a life and a mission of peace.
On the eve of his death, Jesus speaks of his loving relation with the Father and the unifying power that this love bestows upon his disciples. It is a farewell discourse which reveals the profound meaning of his life and can be considered a summary of all his teaching. The gift of peace is the seal on his spiritual testament: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (Jn 14:27). The words of the Risen Lord will not be any different; every time that he meets his disciples they receive from him the greeting and gift of peace: “Peace be with you” (Lk24:36;Jn20:19,21,26). (491)
Mercy, compassion shown to an offender. Mercy, a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion. Mercy implies compassion that forebears punishing even when justice demands it. An act of charity to stress benevolence and goodwill shown in a broad understanding and tolerance of others offering generous forgiving or overlooking of faults and failures. Words from a dictionary spelling out compassion, blessing, benevolence, tolerance and forgiveness. Do we avail ourselves to these multitudes of Divine graces or do we think shallow opinions of ourselves take precedence to wallow in guilt and despair? A rage of negativity preventing us from journeying closer to God’s divine indulgence because of His love for us. In accepting God’s mercy, we can be merciful towards others to foster a circle of compassion rippling out from our lives. Our greatest hope is the reciprocity of offering mercy, as God offers mercy. To move beyond an obsession with failings, to say we can do better, be more faithful, as we dwell on teachings in the Word, immerse ourselves into a prayerful posture and share in the strength from the breaking of the bread. Then we acknowledge we are a community of believers, with one heart and mind where our lives are not our own, but a common sharing of the gifts from God. A matrix of giving mercy with a sincerity of heart, as freely as we have received mercy from God. It is a way to joyfully show our love for God, our belief in Him to attain the goal of our faith, the salvation of souls by our actions of mercy to dispel the notion of a vengeful God spewing wrath. For as we love God and keep His commandments, that are not burdensome, this leads to a victory that can conquer a world suffering from a lack of mercy. To accept God’s mercy, we are open to hear Jesus’ words, “Peace be with you” and accept His commissioning, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Only when we move beyond internalizing faith as a lived obligation, to live faith in the world steeped in God’s mercy, empowered by the Holy Spirit, will we have life in Jesus’ name.
Individual Reflection: John 20:19-31
Pope Francis has declared later this year will initiate a Year of Mercy. How might your parish embellish this? What education and action programs could be initiated?
As we reflect upon Mary’s presence in the mysteries of the Rosary, we are blessed to know her. For her journey, a timeless trek, calls us to surrender, continuing conversion, humbleness and justice now.