March 30, 2016 // Uncategorized

What does the Resurrection of the Lord mean?

2nd Sunday of Easter
John 20:19-31

Last week, with great joy and hope, the Church celebrated Easter. This week, the Church begins to tell us what the Resurrection of the Lord means to us here and now. It is about God’s loving mercy. We celebrate the Sunday of Divine Mercy in the Year of Mercy.

This weekend’s first reading comes from the Acts of the Apostles, as is the case in almost every Mass of this season.

Important to understanding Christianity, and the Church itself, is in realizing that Acts continues St. Luke’s Gospel. This fact is not that apparent since for centuries biblical translators have inserted St. John’s Gospel between Luke’s Gospel and Acts, blurring the connection between Luke and Acts.

The link shows that the redemption secured by Jesus did not end with the Lord’s Ascension, nor did the Lord’s miracles, nor preaching. Vitally important is the fact that all these realities associated with Jesus were continued by the Apostles in the context of the infant Church.

This weekend’s reading describes a time not very long after the Lord’s Ascension. It is very clear. His Apostles, obviously led by Peter, continued the Lord’s mission of redemption.

His mercy ensured through them. God’s mercy lived through them. This weekend’s reading tells of the sick and the weak being brought to Peter, who healed them, just as Jesus had healed the lame and the mute.

The Book of Revelation provides the second reading. By its very nature, it shows us the continuing place of divine mercy in life. First, God inspired John to write this Scripture, that future generations, such as our own, might know God.

Second, John wrote some time after the Ascension. He wrote not in Jerusalem, where Jesus died and rose, but on Patmos, an island in the Aegean Sea, now part of Greece. John further learned about God.

The message is that always God reveals. God always reaches to us.

St. John’s Gospel provides the last reading. It is a very familiar resurrection narrative, the story of the reluctance of the Apostle Thomas to accept that Jesus truly had risen to life after having been crucified, and then of the great faith of Thomas.

The Apostles assure Thomas. He is unconvinced. Then, dramatically Jesus appears. He invites Thomas to believe. In awe, and the uttermost faith, Thomas declares that Jesus not only is teacher and Redeemer, but indeed that Jesus is God.

The Lord then confers upon the Apostles that most divine of powers, the power to judge what is sinful and to forgive sin. It is a divine power, since sin affronts God. Thus, only God can forgive sin. Jesus forgave, being the Son of God. He transmits this power to the Apostles, men who will form the Church and entrust this power to the Church for all the generations to come.


Two points in the readings support the theme of divine mercy. The first is the absolute love for the Lord, seen in the readings. God, through Jesus, always calls us to life in Him.

The second point is that God’s call in our day and time, and in every age, comes to us through the Apostles. They were so much more than the Lord’s companions and most frequent students. They represented the Lord. They possessed the Lord’s authority and power and bore this authority and power after the Ascension.

Majestic among all these powers was their ability to forgive sins, an ability expressly conferred upon them by Jesus.

We are not alone. Granted, as humans we are limited, no matter how impressive “progress” may be. The Lord comes to us with strength, knowledge and life. He lives! His mercy lives, as freshly now as ever.

We only have to turn to God honestly and humbly.

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