April 23,2017: Divine Mercy Sunday, The Second Sunday of Easter
Catholic Social Teaching: Life and Dignity of the Human Person
“Integral human development and the full exercise of human dignity cannot be imposed. They must be built up and allowed to unfold for each individual, for every family, in communion with others, and in a right relationship with all those areas in which human social life develops – friends, communities, towns and cities, schools, businesses and unions, provinces, nations, etc.” Pope Francis address to the United Nations September 25, 2015
First Reading: Acts 2:42-47
Psalm: 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
Second Reading: 1st Peter 1:3-9
Gospel: John 20:19-31
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The disciple of Christ must not only keep the faith and live on it, but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it, and spread it: “All however must be prepared to confess Christ before men and to follow him along the way of the Cross, amidst the persecutions which the Church never lacks.”82 Service of and witness to the faith are necessary for salvation: “So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (1816)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the, Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday Cycle A
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
John 29:19, 21, 26
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; Mic 5:1-4). 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; Hag 2:9; 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” (Lk 24:36; Jn 20:19,21,26). (491)
Jesus came to the disciples with the greeting of “Peace be with you,” while they fearfully hunkered down behind locked doors. Showing them the reality of his crucifixion, his pierced hands and sides, he again offered them the salutation defining his mission, “Peace be with you.” A peace not imparted to affirm staying sheltered in secure confines, but embedded with mission to go forth into the world, replicating the Father’s sending of the Son. A peace affirmed by the power of the Holy Spirit accompanying the disciples. For the ability to bestow peace in the world, by the disciples of antiquity or disciples of today, that would be limited by human capacities is profound coming forth in Divine proportions. But do we allow unbelief, the desire for physical proof to stymie our unwillingness to receive the peace Jesus freely offers us and let it flow forth into the world? Do we live in the comfort of following shallower paths, instead of Jesus, so we fail to embody HIs peace, thinking such a concept is too radical for practicality?
Like the early believers who devoted themselves to communal life, breaking of bread and prayer, that manifest awe with wonders and signs proclaiming faith, we too must accentuate those three components in our communities of faith, neighborhoods and world. Viewing life as a communal experience, the common good permeates life style, ethics and economics. Voices are not silenced. A dialogue etching peace’s precepts into all imaginable aspects of people’s lives, since the foundation of peace is poured in justice. How often do we break bread sacramentally beyond an obligation and personally beyond platitudes of social niceties? Breaking of bread punctuates community, as the Body of Christ in Eucharistic celebration and socially to strengthen bonds of community in coming together to hear others’ stories and share a common table of life’s mosaic connecting the links of community. Realizing prayer grasps all aspects of life means we talk to God about everything with praise and thanksgiving, sorrow and lament, questions burning within our soul and silence of contemplation. Through prayer, peace manifests its presence, for we come to know the mercy of our loving God who desires we break free from all that restrains us from receiving, living and sharing the peace of Jesus’ invitation.
For centuries, Thomas has carried the chastised label of doubt. He offers us a model. People doubting are searching, not closed to Jesus’ invitation of peace. When we encounter 21st Century Thomases, may we listen to their doubt, walk with them thru their questions and share our stories of encounter with peace. The signs and wonders of God’s presence in the world, not written in a book, but shared communally, in the breaking of bread, sacramentally and tactically, and fruits of prayer. A presence lived with sincerity of heart, enjoying favor with all people, the diversity of humanity. For only in embracing diversity will one be receptive to Jesus’ offer of peace. Otherwise we divide, subtract and fraction the human family instead of multiplying disciples of peace, the balm of God’s mercy. Will we allow ourselves to be ready for God’s peace, to let peace tug on our moral focus and align belief on the basis for Jesus’ life, death and resurrection to let it be the basis for our existence?
Individual Reflection: John 20:19-31
Read Transfiguration: A Meditation on Transforming Ourselves and Our World, by Fr. John Dear. How can you better accept and manifest Jesus’ worlds of , “Peace be with you?”
Family Reflection: 1st Peter 1:3-9
April 25 is the Feast of St Mark. Part of the readings for the day is 1st Peter 5:5b-7. How can your family more fully live these words?
(1st Peter 5: 7 led to my conversion, coming to the Church and I ended up starting RCIA on April 25th !…beyond coincidence ! )
On this Divine Mercy Sunday, spend time in contemplation of God’s mercy in your life.
Blogs to Visit:
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.
Weekly lectionary reflections, for faith sharing groups, parish bulletins, newsletters or personal prayer, from the synergy of the Word we hear and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching offers seven principles for upholding life in our thoughts, decisions and actions.
How we do Catholic Social Teaching.
Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
Social Ministry Resources Engaging Parishes: Monthly and liturgical seasons resources for use with parish websites, bulletins and newsletters
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born April 17, 2017 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.