SUNDAY, SECOND WEEK OF EASTER
Acts 5: 12-16; Ps 118: 2-4,22-27; Rv 1: 9-13, 17-19; Jn 20: 19-31
THE GIFTS OF THE RISEN LORD
Today, we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, and the Gospel passage today talks Thomas who was not with his companions when the Risen Lord appeared to them. He expresses his disbelief and rational incapacity to understand the fact of the resurrection. Hence, Jesus appears again, when Thomas is present. Thomas makes one of the most powerful acknowledgements of Jesus’ real identity in the whole Gospel and the only time anyone directly calls him God: “My Lord and my God!” The readings of today also highlight five great gifts that the Risen Lord gave to the disciples and, through them, to all of us. All these gifts are signs of God’s abundant mercy.
- The Risen Lord gives us PEACE: “So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’” Then after he showed them his hands and side, he repeated “Peace be with you”. Peace is the fruit of our union with God. Humanity had lost this union, and consequently, peace, through the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Now, that peace is restored through the obedience of the new Adam, Jesus Christ. Jesus makes us sharers in his peace; “My peace I give you” (Jn 14:27). In him, we are now reconciled with the Father. Now, we are called to become the missionaries of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18).
- The Risen Lord gives us PROOF: “And when he had said this, he showed them both his hands and his side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” They saw, heard and even touched the risen Saviour. Therefore, from the very beginning, the disciples could preach with great conviction that Christ died for our sins and rose again according to the scriptures (cf. 1Cor 15:3-4). The book of Revelation tells us about John’s vision of the Son of Man in glory. Jesus doesn’t leave us without assurance of his victory over death, his power and his presence: “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me…. I will be with you till the end of the ages” (Mt 28:18-20).
- The Risen Lord gives us PURPOSE: “So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you; as the Father has sent me, I also send you.’” Jesus has made us sharers of his mission, that is, to lead all around us to the heart of the Father. Jesus taught us to seek and pray for the kingdom of God. We are given a life-purpose to work for the coming of his kingdom. We are called to testify to God’s saving love as he did, to bring comfort and hope to the sick and suffering as he did, to be a light to those in the darkness of sin as he was. We read in today’s first reading how the mighty hand of the Lord continued to work through the apostles. Even the shadow of Peter had a healing effect (cf. Acts 5:12-16).
- The Risen Lord gives us POWER: “And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’”. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). We are given the same Spirit that came upon Jesus at the time of his Baptism, that came upon his mother Mary at the annunciation and that empowered the apostles on the day of Pentecost. Thus, we are empowered in the same way, to carry on the mission of the Lord.
- The Risen Lord gives us a MESSAGE to PROCLAIM: “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.” The ultimate reason for the mission of the church in the world is to deal with sin. The prime content of the Church’s preaching is the forgiveness of sins through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. “Your sins are forgiven in Jesus” is the gospel that we are sent to preach.
Response: Give praise to the Lord, for he is good; his mercy endures forever.
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