(From the Bulletin of Sts. Joachim and Ann Catholic Church, April 23, 2017)
Second Sunday of Easter A - Divine Mercy Sunday
Just when the apostles, huddling in fear in the Upper Room, were convinced that their days with Jesus were over forever, He appeared through locked doors. It's beginning all over again! They should have believed the women— and the two disciples who gave them that outlandish story about the Stranger on the road!
Now, here He is! "Peace be with you. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them...." Does He mean us? We're supposed to leave this safe hideaway and start stirring up trouble again?
Or maybe we even doubt that part about "doubting Thomas." Do you suppose he really had the nerve to put his hand in Jesus' side? Jesus rewards those like us who don't demand such proof.
We really have no idea what went through the minds of the apostles following the Crucifixion, but we can imagine their fright and their disbelief at the rumors on Easter Sunday. In any event, we know it takes time for everything to sink in. Between Easter and Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit would change them forever, Jesus appeared many times and in many places to convince them of the truth—that He had risen from the tomb, and since He would return to the Father, they were the ones who would do the groundwork for the building of the kingdom.
Many people experience a definite letdown after Easter Sunday. Attendance at daily Mass gradually shrinks back to the "normal," and we lose the enthusiasm generated by Lent. If we're really attentive to Scripture, we'll feel just the opposite. The Easter Season is a most satisfying time to immerse ourselves in Scripture. From day to day, we just never know where the Risen Lord will pop up! At one point, He even provides the food for a shore dinner.
Yes newly confirmed, you made great promises to serve the Church and its communities. God has chosen you to be his close friends. Like the apostles, it takes time for everything to sink into your minds and hearts. For starters, we begin today with a focus on the Divine Mercy of Jesus. Our beloved St. John-Paul II established this devotion for the Second Sunday of Easter. It makes special sense at the beginning of the Easter season. Just consider! Jesus showed incredible mercy in forgiving Peter his threefold denial, in forgiving Thomas for his doubts and in forgiving all the apostles who ran away (excepting John, who stood faithfully by Jesus). And while dying on the cross, He forgave those who had nailed Him there! He forgave all whose sins caused His Passion and death.
Our only appropriate response to His love and mercy is by imitating His love and forgiveness, and praying that all in our sinful world will surrender to His mercy—and believe!
Fr. Louis Kemayou, Pastor
Praver for Confirmandi
Holy Spirit, strengthen our Sts. Joachim & Ann Parish and St. Joseph Church newly Confirmed with your gifts of Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord, and serve as disciples of Christ. Grant that they may grow into the fullness of the stature of Christ. Fill them with the joy of your presence. Increase in them the fruit of your Spirit. Help them to experience and trust your dwelling within, so that they may count on your guidance today and every day. Show us the way to help one another become better disciples of Jesus Christ, sharing your love with our world and with each person we meet.
Come Holy Spirit! Come!