Sunday, 16 April 2023 : Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday all of us have come to the completion of the glorious Easter Octave, the Second Sunday of Easter, as we continue to embark on this joyful journey and time, and as we gather together to celebrate joyfully the Lord’s glorious Resurrection, we are reminded as always of the love and kindness that He has always shown us. Through His Passion and death, His glorious Resurrection, the Risen Lord has brought us all from the darkness into the light, and He has rejuvenated all of us, restored hope to all of us who have been suffering in the darkness, so that each and every one of us may once again live with Him in true joy and happiness. This is why, Pope St. John Paul II through his decision, named this Second Sunday of Easter as the Divine Mercy Sunday, in reference to the vision of St. Faustina Kowalska on the Aspect of the Lord as the Divine Mercy, focusing on the merciful and compassionate nature of our loving God and Father.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles of the early beginnings and the early days of the Church, after we have heard in the past week of the many deeds of the Apostles in proclaiming the truth about the Lord’s Resurrection, and how many people have become convinced that the Lord is the Saviour of the world, and believed in Him. That was the beginning of the Christian Church and community, and we heard how the early Christians lived, sharing their goods and properties, living in wonderful peace and harmony with each other. They lived in God’s grace and cared for each other, living righteously and faithfully in God’s path. They truly embodied the spirit of being true disciples and followers of the Lord. They did what they had been taught by the Apostles and the Christian missionaries, striving to do what they could to glorify the Lord by their lives, by their every actions, words and deeds.

They trusted in the Lord and obeyed Him, focusing themselves and their lives on the Risen Lord, and in loving one another in the manner that the Lord Himself has shown His love upon them, that everyone who witnessed them and their works, their lives and actions were indeed touched by the love of God made manifest and real through the actions of His called and chosen people, those who are called Christians. They embodied what we heard in our second reading today from the First Epistle of St. Peter. The Apostle spoke of how Lord has shown all of us, His beloved people the hope and salvation through the Resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord and Saviour, through Whom all of the people faithful to the Lord had been brought to reconciliation and reunion with our beloved Father and God. St. Peter also spoke of how each and every members of the Church ought to put our trust in the Lord, and hold fast onto this faith we have in Him.

St. Peter also mentioned how putting our trust in the Lord is much better and far more important, a wiser and better choice than putting our trust in worldly means, by comparing between gold and faith, and how gold provided something that will not last forever while faith gives us things that the world cannot give and lasts forever. For while gold, wealth, riches and the resources of this world may fail us and may be destroyed and lost from us, as long as we entrust ourselves to the Lord and remain faithful to Him, the Lord will always be by our side, guiding us in our path and providing for us, even in the midst of our darkest and most difficult moments. The Resurrection itself was the strongest proof of this, as coupled with the Passion and death that Our Lord and Saviour endured on His Cross, it proves that God’s love endured even through His death, and through His Resurrection, we have seen once again His love and compassion for us, undimmed and shown to us in all its fullness.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the example of how the Lord showed His beloved ones that He truly remembered all of them and loved them, appearing before them at the moment when they were still confused and lost at what had just happened in the preceding days. Back then, right after the Resurrection, the disciples of the Lord were still filled with fear and uncertainty, as they experienced a great whirlwind of events from the moment when the Lord Jesus entered Jerusalem, hailed and glorified like a King, only to be betrayed by one of His own disciples, abandoned by everyone and rejected by the same ones who had welcomed Him with such great joy and festivities. They witnessed how the Lord was persecuted, tortured and broken, forced to carry His Cross to Calvary, pierced with nails and suffered until His death, and His Body interred in a tomb. Then, a most bewildering news were told to them by the women who went to the Lord’s tomb, telling them that the Lord had risen from the dead.

In truth, the Lord Himself has predicted that all these would happen, but none of the disciples realised the truth until everything had happened. The Lord appearing before those same disciples therefore revealed all of the truth that He has been telling them all the while, and relighted the hope in the hearts of those who have been afflicted by fear and darkness. The Lord appeared to all of them except for St. Thomas who have been away during the time that the Lord appeared to His disciples. We heard of how St. Thomas refused to believe what the other disciples had told him, and refused to believe that the Lord had indeed risen from the dead, even to the point of proclaiming that unless he could verify everything right up to touching and putting his fingers into the Lord’s wounds, he refused to believe in the resurrection of the Lord.

It was there then that the Lord proved Himself and His Risen glory to St. Thomas, appearing before him and the other disciples and telling him to do exactly as what he had wanted to do. St. Thomas was awestruck, and he immediately professed his faith in the Lord, with the words that we are now familiar with, ‘My Lord and my God’. These are the exact same words that we usually say whenever the Most Holy Eucharist, the Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood of Christ is presented before us, at the moment when the Eucharist is elevated by the celebrant, at the Consecration during the Eucharistic Prayer. We utter the same words as St. Thomas, ‘My Lord and my God’ and more significantly, just as the Lord had said, ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed.’ Unlike St. Thomas, who have seen the Risen Lord Himself and believed in Him, we have not seen the Risen Lord and yet we believed.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in essence that is what our Christian faith is all about. Our Christian faith is the belief we have in the salvation and eternal life that we have been offered most generously by the merciful and compassionate love of God, the Divine Mercy. This Sunday that is the reason why we commemorate this Divine Mercy Sunday, to remind us all that the Resurrection of the Lord is the proof of the Lord’s ever enduring Love and Mercy towards us, in His ever loving actions and works to reach out to us and to reconcile us to Himself. He has sent us all His own beloved Son after all, to suffer most grievous injuries and hardships, persecution, humiliations and rejection so that by His wounds, pains and sufferings, He might save us all and redeem us from our many sins and faults. By His sorrowful Passion, the Lord, our most loving and compassionate Divine Mercy have redeemed us and healed us from our fallen state of sin.

Now, as we celebrate the Divine Mercy of God and this joyful Easter season, let us all therefore spend our time to proclaim the most Divine Mercy of Our Risen Lord to the whole world, to all those whom we encounter in life. All of us as Christians have the solemn obligation and mission to proclaim the Lord to the world, and the best way that we can do this, is by doing His will, obeying His Law and commandments, and living our lives in the manner that is truly worthy of the Lord, much as how the early Christians mentioned in our first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles had lived their lives. We have to show that we truly believe in the Lord, truly present in our midst, and by Whose works of mercy we have been redeemed from our terrible state in life. Do we truly believe in the Risen Lord like how the disciples, the numerous saints and martyrs of the Church, our holy predecessors, had done? Or do we doubt Him like how St. Thomas once doubted Him?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us therefore ask the Lord, our Resurrected Saviour and God, to show us all His mercy and forgiveness, pouring down from His own Most Sacred Heart upon each and every one of us. What St. Faustina Kowalska had seen in her visions, and the words she has received reminded us that the Lord first and foremost loved us all, although He despised our sins and wickedness. He wants us all to change our way of life for the better, so that we may truly embrace His mercy in full. Forgiveness and healing for our many sins can come from the Lord alone, and it is in Him therefore that we should put our full trust in, entrusting ourselves wholeheartedly from now on if we have not yet done so. Let us all draw ever closer to Him, to the Divine Mercy, to the Lord’s Throne of Mercy, beseeching Him to remove from us the blight of these sins we have committed. May the Risen Lord, the Divine Mercy continue to bless and guide us all to Himself, and may He remain with us always, now and at all times. Amen.

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