Sunday, 24 April 2022 : Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday, the Second Sunday of Easter marks the Feast of the Divine Mercy, as instituted by Pope St. John Paul II in the Year of Our Lord 2000 based on the visions of the Divine Mercy by St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun who received mystical visions and experienced the Lord’s Divine Mercy before her, showing His wounds and hurt, all that He had done in offering Himself, Body, Soul and Divinity for the salvation of the whole entire world. We are reminded today through this important Feast and also through the Sacred Scriptures, of the reason why we celebrate so joyfully this Easter, not just for one day but for one entire season lasting fifty days until Pentecost Sunday.

In our first reading today, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, we heard of the works of the Apostles among the people of God as they had been entrusted with the mission by God to bring forth the salvation and the graces He has willingly bestowed to His beloved people. They performed many miracles and wonders among the people of God, in various places, courageously proclaiming the Risen Lord and Saviour by their words and actions. The people witnessed those miracles and believed in the Lord Jesus, Who has once also performed those same miracles, and healed the hurt of their body and soul. He has touched them, either directly or through His disciples and made them whole again.

The people were all seeking the Lord, all bringing their sick ones to Him, and they also brought the same sick ones to the disciples and the Apostles of the Lord. Through them, God continued the works of His love and mercy in our world, as He showed His generous mercy and compassion, by which He had desired to gather all the people to Himself, and to be reconciled with us. And that was why He sought even the worst of sinners, the tax collectors, prostitutes, criminals and all those who had been ostracised by the society, that He might touch their hearts and change their lives for the better. And it was proven well enough by the response that those people long considered sinners and unworthy had been giving the Lord.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard for ourselves that even among His own closest confidants, there were sinners and people who doubted Him, as I am sure we are all familiar with how St. Thomas the Apostle, one of the Twelve Apostles reacted to the news of the Lord’s resurrection from the dead. Throughout the Gospels, St. Thomas had always been a skeptic of the Lord, and he had a lot of doubts, even to the point of openly doubting the Lord and being sarcastic at Him, for example, when He was going to Judea to face His Passion and death, as St. Thomas sarcastically commented that they, the disciples, should all follow the Lord to their deaths.

We have to remember and take note how the Lord called interesting mix of people to be His followers and disciples. He had among them, a tax collector in Levi, who was later known as St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, and then four poor and likely illiterate fishermen from the lake of Galilee, the first ones whom He had called, namely St. Peter and his brother, St. Andrew, and then the brothers, St. James and St. John, the sons of Zebedee. Then of course we have St. Thomas himself, who always ever doubted the Lord, and St. Simon, a former zealot who was probably part of the rebellion against the Romans and thus was perhaps a fugitive or criminal in the eyes of the law, and Judas Iscariot, the traitor who betrayed the Lord.

We see that the Lord chose the poor, the marginalised, the ordinary and sinners to be His disciples. There were mix of different characters and personalities among His followers, and this represents exactly what the Lord wanted to do among His people. He came to gather all the lost sheep of the Lord, those who have fallen astray and fell into the wrong paths, scattered and lost from Him, so that through Him, and through the truth, light and hope that He has brought into our midst, He may restore us all to grace, and strengthen us to be once again a people that is holy and worthy of God.

Through His appearance before all the disciples in today’s Gospel, and before St. Thomas, who had defiantly proclaimed before all the others that he would not believe in the Lord’s resurrection unless he could directly prove it by touching His wounds and putting his finger into the wound at the Lord’s side. The Lord appeared before him and all the other disciples, surely as a direct response to what St. Thomas had said earlier on regarding the resurrection. And sure enough, He asked St. Thomas directly to do what he had said that he would do in order to prove the truth about the Lord’s resurrection.

We heard how St. Thomas responded immediately with faith, most likely both awed and ashamed at his own words, actions and doubts earlier on. He said, “My Lord and my God”, the same words that we always say at every moment after the Agnus Dei, or the Lamb of God segment in the Holy Mass. St. Thomas earlier on had been inflicted with doubt, with his own pride and ego became his own undoing. Why did he refuse to believe in God earlier on? That is because he operated on his own standards, and he placed a lot of trust in himself and in his own judgment rather than believing in God and His truth. He was skeptical because in his mind and logic, it was impossible for something like that to happen.

And yet, it did happen. The Lord, Who is God Incarnate, the Son of God, had descended into our midst, to be with us, and to suffer and die for us. And not only that, He rose gloriously from the dead, and all those things are impossible for man, and yet, for God, everything is possible. He came into our midst, and through His love, His patience and mercy, His compassionate care for us, His outreach even to the worst of sinners, and to those who doubt like St. Thomas and many others who still refused to believe in Him, the Lord revealed that He came to save us, to make us all to be reconciled with Him, He, the Divine Mercy, made manifest in the flesh.

In the Holy Mass, whenever the priest or any of the celebrants raised the consecrated bread and wine, the Most Holy Eucharist, which had been transformed by the power of God through His Holy Spirit and by the power and authority entrusted by the Lord through His disciples, and when the words are said, ‘This is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb.’, we are presented with this seemingly impossible event, of a mere bread and mere wine, transformed completely into the reality and nature of Our Lord’s own Precious Body and Blood.

And yet, He is there, for us, on the Altar, just as at the Altar of His Cross at Calvary. The Holy Mass, as we all should know, is the same sacrifice and offering that Our Lord Himself had offered on the Cross, two millennia ago, which then, mystically and most wonderfully, is shown to us again and again, at every celebration of the Holy Mass. At the Mass, as the Lamb of God is presented to us, and we respond to the celebrant with the same words that St. Thomas had spoken, we are all reminded that by Our Lord’s most compassionate love and mercy, He, the Divine Mercy, had availed Himself to give unto us the finest path towards reconciliation to Him, through the Eucharist.

He broke His own Body and shed His own Blood at His Passion, suffering and death on the Cross, because He loved us all so dearly and tenderly. Each and every single one of us are so precious to Him, that His love for us transcends and surpasses even our sins and wickedness, which had kept us separated from God and the fullness of His grace and love. That is why this Sunday, on this Feast of the Divine Mercy, celebrated so close to the Easter Sunday, we are reminded of everything that Our Lord had done for us, all that He had done, because of the overflowing love and generous mercy which He had shown us, from the beginning right up to now.

At the same time, we have to realise that while Our Lord’s love and mercy are infinite and boundless, but our sins remain as obstacles in our path towards the full reconciliation with God. Sin is borne out of our disobedience against God and our refusal to listen to Him, and each and every single one of our sins have to be accounted for before we are to be fully reconciled with God, and enjoy the fullness of our joyful and wonderful inheritance. And God had given us plenty of means for us to find this, through His Church, in the Sacraments that He had provided for us, but which we often rejected and ignored.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us ask ourselves these important questions before we move on with our lives. As Christians, have we truly wholeheartedly believed in God, in all of His truth, in His love and His mercy? And in our actions and words, in our attitudes and dealings in life, have we truly reflect what a Christian is expected to be and what a Christian should do? Or have we instead been more like St. Thomas, doubting and refusing to believe in the Lord, full of pride and ego, to admit that we can be wrong and that we are in need of healing and forgiveness for our sins?

As Christians, all of us are called to be faithful and dedicated witnesses of Our Lord’s truth, His love and resurrection, His mercy and compassion. That is why in our daily lives, all of us must do our best to proclaim this truth, not just with mere words, but also through our actions. It is not enough for us to just believe in the Lord, but we must also be filled with the courage to reach out to our fellow brothers and sisters around us, with the love and mercy of God shown through us and our actions. It means that in all of our interactions and dealings, we must indeed be missionaries of mercy, and to remind everyone of the love that God has for each one of us.

Let us all remind one another, that as long as our sins are not forgiven, because we still stubbornly refuse the Lord and reject His generous mercy, then we will be stuck in this state, separated from God, and in real danger of falling into eternal damnation. Let us remind one another that God is ever merciful, and He has always patiently loved us, despite our many transgressions. Let us stop being stubborn, humble ourselves and open our hearts and minds to allow God and His love to enter into us and transform us from beings tainted by sin and darkness, to be true children of the Light, and to be witnesses of Our Lord’s truth and resurrection.

May the Lord, the Divine Mercy, continue to shine His loving face and show His most merciful and compassionate love towards us. And may all of us draw ever closer to His love and mercy, and do our best in each and every moments of our lives to be ever more exemplary sons and daughters of God, and as genuine and faithful Christians, beloved ones of the Lord, at all times. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! Amen.

Sunday, 24 April 2022 : Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 19-31

At that time, on the evening of the day when Jesus rose from the dead, the first day after the Sabbath, the doors were locked where the disciples were, because of their fear of the Jews. But Jesus came, and stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you!” Then He showed them His hands and His side. The disciples kept looking at the Lord and were full of joy.

Again Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, so I send you.” After saying this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit! Those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; those whose sins you retain, they are retained.”

Thomas, the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he replied, “Until I have seen in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in His side, I will not believe.”

Eight days later, the disciples were inside again and Thomas was with them. Despite the locked doors Jesus came and stood in the their midst and said, “Peace be with you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see My hands; stretch out your hand, and put it into My side. Do not be an unbeliever! Believe!”

Thomas then said, “You are my Lord and my God.” Jesus replied, “You believe because you see Me, do you not? Happy are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

There were many other signs that Jesus gave in the presence of His disciples, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded, so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Believe, and you will have life through His Name!

Sunday, 24 April 2022 : Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Revelations 1 : 9-11a, 12-13, 17-19

I, John, your brother, who shares with you, in Jesus, the sufferings, the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island of Patmos, because of the word of God and witnessing to Jesus. On the Lord’s day, the Spirit took possession of me and I heard a voice behind me, which sounded like a trumpet, “Write down all that you see, in a book, and send it to the seven churches.”

I turned to see who was speaking to me; behind me were seven golden lamp stands and, in the middle of these, I saw Someone, like a Son of Man, dressed in a long robe, tied with a golden girdle. Seeing Him, I fell at His feet, like one dead; but He touched me with His right hand and said, “Do not be afraid. It is I, the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead; and now I am alive, for ever and ever; and Mine are the keys of death and the netherworld.”

“Now write what you have seen, both what it is and what is yet to come.”

Sunday, 24 April 2022 : Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 117 : 2-4, 22-24, 25-27a

Let Israel say, “His loving kindness endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say, “His loving kindness endures forever.” Let those who fear YHVH say, “His loving kindness endures forever.”

The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone. This was YHVH’s doing and we marvel at it. This is the day YHVH has made; so let us rejoice and be glad.

Save us, o YHVH, deliver us, o YHVH! Blessed is He who comes in YHVH’s Name! We praise You from the house of YHVH. YHVH is God; may His light shine upon us.

Sunday, 24 April 2022 : Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 5 : 12-16

Many miraculous signs and wonders were done among the people, through the hands of the Apostles. The believers, of one accord, used to meet in Solomon’s Porch. None of the others dared to join them, but the people held them in high esteem. So, and ever-increasing number of men and women, believed in the Lord.

The people carried the sick into the streets, and laid them on cots and on mats, so, that, when Peter passed by, at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The people gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those who were troubled by unclean spirits; and all of them were healed.

(Usus Antiquior) Low Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 24 April 2022 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : White

Offertory

Matthew 28 : 2, 5, 6

Angelus Domini descendit de caelo, et dixit mulieribus : Quem quaeritis, surrexit, sicut dixit, Alleluja.

English translation

An angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and said to the women, “He whom you seek is risen as He said.” Alleluia.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Suscipe munera, Domine, quaesumus, exsultantis Ecclesiae : et, cui causam tanti gaudii praestitisti, perpetuae fructum concede laetitiae. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Receive, we pray to You, o Lord, the gifts of Your exultant Church, and as You have afforded her cause for such great joy, grant her the fruit of unending gladness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Preface of Easter

Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare : Te quidem, Domine, omni tempore, sed in hac potissimum die (in hoc potissimum) gloriosus praedicare, cum Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus. Ipse enim verus est Agnus, qui abstulit peccata mundi. Qui mortem nostram moriendo destruxit et vitam resurgendo reparavit. Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus cumque omni militiae caelestis exercitus hymnum gloriae Tuae canimus, sine fine dicentes :

English translation

It is truly meet and just, right and profitable, to extol You indeed at all times, o Lord, but chiefly with highest praise to magnify You on this day (in these days) on which for us Christ, our Paschal Lamb, was sacrificed. For He is the true Lamb who had taken away the sins of the world, who by dying Himself had destroyed our death, and by rising again had bestowed a new life on us. And therefore with the Angels and Archangels, with the Thrones and Dominions, and with all the array of the heavenly host we sing a hymn to Your glory and unceasingly repeat.

Communion

John 20 : 27

Mitte manum Tuam, et cognosce loca clavorum, Alleluja : et noli esse incredulus, sed fidelis, Alleluja, Alleluja.

English translation

Put in your hand and know the place of the nails, Alleluia. And be not incredulous but believe! Alleluia, Alleluia.

Post-Communion Prayer

Quaesumus, Domine, Deus noster : ut sacrosancta mysteria, quae pro reparationis nostrae munimine contulisti; et praesens nobis remedium esse facias et futurum. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

We beseech You, o Lord, our God, that You make the sacred mysteries which You have given for the bulwark of our redemption, to be unto us a healing both in the present and in the future. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Low Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 24 April 2022 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : White

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. John

John 20 : 19-31

In illo tempore : Cum sero esset die illo, una sabbatorum, et fores essent clausae, ubi erant discipuli congregati propter metum Judaeorum : venit Jesus, et stetit in medio, et dixit eis : Pax vobis. Et cum hoc dixisset, ostendit eis manus et latus. Gavisi sunt ergo discipuli, viso Domino.

Dixit ergo eis iterum : Pax vobis. Sicut misit me Pater, et ego mitto vos. Haec cum dixisset, insufflavit, et dixit eis : Accipite Spiritum Sanctum : quorum remiseritis peccata : remittuntur eis; et quorum retinueritis, retenta sunt.

Thomas autem unus ex duodecim, qui dicitur Didymus, non erat cum eis quando venit Jesus. Dixerunt ergo et alii discipuli : Vidimus Dominum. Ille autem dixit eis : Nisi videro in manibus ejus fixuram clavorum, et mittam digitum meum in locum clavorum, et mittam manum meam in latus ejus, non credam.

Et post dies octo, iterum erant discipuli ejus intus, et Thomas cum eis. Venit Jesus, januis clausis, et stetit in medio, et dixit : Pax vobis. Deinde dicit Thomae : Infer digitum tuum huc et vide manus meas, et affer manum tuam et mitte in latus meum : et noli esse incredulus, sed fidelis.

Respondit Thomas et dixit ei : Dominus meus et Deus meus. Dixit ei Jesus : Quia vidisti me, Thoma, credidisti : beati, qui non viderunt, et crediderunt. Multa quidem et alia signa fecit Jesus in conspectu discipulorum suorum, quae non sunt scripta in libro hoc. Haec autem scripta sunt, ut credatis, quia Jesus est Christus, Filius Dei : et ut credentes vitam habeatis in Nomine Ejus.

English translation

At that time, when it was late that same day, the first day of the week, and the doors were shut where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be to you.” And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord.

He said therefore to them again, “Peace be to you, as the Father had sent Me, I also send you.” When He had said this, He breathed on them and He said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit, those whose sins you shall forgive, they shall be forgiven, and those whose sins you shall retain, their sins shall be retained.”

Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, who is called the Twin or Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Except that I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

And after eight days, again His disciples were within a room, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be to you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger in here, and see My hands, and bring your hands here, and put it into My side, and do not be faithless but believe!”

Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God.” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, Thomas, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believed.” Many other signs Jesus had also done in the sight of His disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing, you may have life in His Name.

(Usus Antiquior) Low Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 24 April 2022 : Alleluia

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 28 : 7 and John 20 : 26

Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : In die resurrectionis meae, dicit Dominus, praecedam vos in Galilaeam.

Alleluja.

Response : Post dies octo, januis clausis, stetit Jesus in medio discipulorum suorum, et dixit : Pax vobis. Alleluja.

English translation

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : In the day of My resurrection, I will go before you into Galilee.

Alleluia.

Response : Eight days after, the doors being shut, Jesus stood in the midst of His disciples, and said, “Peace be unto you.” Alleluia.

(Usus Antiquior) Low Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 24 April 2022 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : White

Lectio Epistolae Beati Joannis Apostoli – Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed John the Apostle

1 John 5 : 4-10

Carissimi : Omne, quod natum est ex Deo, vincit mundum : et haec est victoria, quae vincit mundum, fides nostra. Quis est, qui vincit mundum, nisi qui credit, quoniam Jesus est Filius Dei? Hic est, qui venit per aquam et sanguinem, Jesus Christus : non in aqua solum, sed in aqua et sanguine.

Et Spiritus est, qui testificatur, quoniam Christus est veritas. Quoniam tres sunt, qui testimonium dant in caelo : Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus Sanctus : et hi tres unum sunt. Et tres sunt, qui testimonium dant in terra : Spiritus, et aqua, et sanguis : et hi tres unum sunt.

Si testimonium hominum accipimus, testimonium Dei majus est : quoniam hoc est testimonium Dei, quod majus est : quoniam testificatus est de Filio suo. Qui credit in Filium Dei, habet testimonium Dei in se.

English translation

Dearly beloved, whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world, and that is the victory which overcomes the world, that is our faith. Who is he that overcame the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is He who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not by water only but by water and blood.

And it is the Spirit which testifies that Christ is the truth. And there are three who give testimony in heaven, that is the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are One. And there are three that give testimony on earth, that is the Spirit, the water and the blood, and these three are one.

If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God which is greater, because He had testified of His Son. He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony of God in himself.