Second Sunday of Easter – Divine Mercy Sunday

John 20:19-31

It was the first day of the week; the disciples were together; the doors were locked for fear of the Jews. In the surrounding air there seemed to be an element of a hatred for love. Fear had the disciples locked into an immobility, afraid of what might happen to them. The outside world was not in harmony with the world of the disciples. As Gerard Vann OP once wrote, “The most fearful thing about the world’s fear is its hopelessness. ”It was evening time. Morning and afternoon had passed.

When the disciples were together in the room Jesus came and stood among them: “Peace be with you.”  He breathed on them the Holy Spirit, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone their sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” Perhaps it is the ability to forgive that unlocks the fear that can hinder us, a fear that disables us from moving in a normal loving manner. Lack of forgiveness keeps us frozen within the four walls of our own making and as the walls become thicker with the festering of our self-centred thoughts, life becomes hopeless.

This Sunday’s Gospel passage then moves onto a week later, where Jesus appeared again to the disciples, stood among them and again showed them his wounds.

In Pope Francis’ Easter message,  he said, “The Risen Lord is also the Crucified One, not someone else. In his glorious body he bears indelible wounds: wounds that have become windows of hope. Let us turn our gaze to him that he may heal the wounds of an afflicted humanity.”

At the end of this Gospel passage it states that all of this was written so that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing in him we may have life in his name. We believe not in a ” Creed but in a person.”[1]

This is a certain and sure element of our faith that cannot be undone. It is how we respond that lessens or increases the gift of it for us and for each other.

In the confinement of where we find ourselves in our present situation, may we experience the peace of Christ among us and allow ourselves to be open to God’s service of love for each other and be drawn to respond with love no matter how small the deed. The peace that Jesus gives us is a peace willing our neighbour’s good –  and that means love. This is a season of a certain and sure hope, our hope in the risen Christ, he who is love, he who is merciful.

Sr. Edel Murphy OP

[1] Gerard Vann OP, The Two Trees.

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