Msgr. Owen Campion
The Sunday Gospel
April 6, 2024 // Perspective

Through God’s Divine Mercy Are We Freed from Sin and Death

Msgr. Owen Campion
The Sunday Gospel

Second Sunday of Easter

As almost always in the Easter season, the Acts of the Apostles furnishes the Liturgy of the Word with its first reading.

Acts claims to be – and scholars assume it indeed is – the work of the Evangelist who wrote St. Luke’s Gospel. Acts, therefore, may properly be seen as a continuation of the story presented in Luke’s Gospel, which closes with the ascension of Jesus. Acts then begins at this point.

As it progresses, Acts traces for some years the development of the infant Church, describing the plight of its first members. In so doing, it provides a fascinating insight into the formation of the Church’s structure, as well as a powerful lesson in the basic beliefs that so compelled absolute loyalty and devotion from the early Christians whom Acts praises.

It also gives great examples of unqualified selfishness – the idea that might makes right, human ignorance, and treachery.

In this weekend’s reading, Acts presents the first members of the Church as being “of one heart and one mind.” Love for the Lord, and adherence to Him, were supreme for them.

Central in the story were the apostles, the Lord’s special
followers and students, whom Jesus commissioned to continue the work of salvation. The apostles literally had seen the Risen Lord, so the first Christians revered them.

Love for others, in the model of Jesus, was more than a platitude. The early Christians assisted the poor. Indeed, so much so that they sold their property or even their houses to obtain funds to assist the needy.

St. John’s First Epistle supplies the second reading, defining what being a Christian means.

Each believer must give self fully in love to God, through trust and faith in Jesus. Because of this commitment, and because of the Lord’s redeeming acts, in Christ, each Christian is a child of God. This term means much more than merely earthly creation. It means eternal life.

Baptism in water symbolizes this absolute commitment.

The Gospel reading for this weekend is from St. John’s Gospel. It is a Resurrection Narrative, a story with which most Christians are quite familiar. Recall the dismay among the followers of Jesus when they found the empty tomb? Where had the body of the Lord been taken?

This reading answers the question. The body of the Lord has not been hidden. Jesus lives! The encounter with the doubting, demanding Thomas affirms this glorious fact.


Resurrection from the dead is stunning, but Jesus further acts as God by conferring the very power of the Holy Spirit on the apostles. He grants them the authority of forgiving sins, a divine privilege, as sins are an affront to God. He sends them to the four corners of the world to bring redemption to humankind.

Passing through locked doors as if thin air, Jesus greeted the apostles by saying, “Peace be with you.” In this greeting, Jesus makes clear that peace comes only from God. The living Lord is the sole source of peace.

Sadly, Ukrainians this year likely modified their historic celebration of Easter because of the war, but, here and there, the traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs might have been seen, reminders of an ancient faith.

These eggs – the more elaborately decorated the better – represent the tomb in which the crucified body of Jesus lay. It was a blessed place, since from it, Jesus triumphantly rose.

Distancing from, indifference to, and certainly outright rebellion against Jesus make our lives tombs, cold and dark.

We observe Divine Mercy Sunday on this weekend. In and through Jesus, the Son of God, Divine Mercy is with us, strengthening, restoring, empowering, healing, and freeing us, opening the sealed doors of the tombs in which we lay. Come forth! Live in the peace of Christ!

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