2ND SUNDAY OF EASTER (A)(Divine Mercy Sunday/Octave Day of Easter)

Theme: GO AND ANNOUNCE THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD’S RESURRECTION SO THAT THOSE WHO BELIEVE AND ARE BAPTISED WILL HAVE THEIR SINS FORGIVEN

  • Acts 2:42-47; 
  • Psalm 117:2-4. 13-15. 22-24. R/ v. 1; 
  • 1 Peter 1:3-9
  • John 20:19-31

1. A happy and blessed Easter to all of you! Today we celebrate the Octave Day of Easter, that is, the eighth day of Easter! Easter is such a big feast that we do not celebrate it in one day, but we celebrate it in eight days! That is why all the Masses of the past week were celebrated as solemnities! And that is why we could eat meat last Friday! 

The gospel today tells us that on the day of his resurrection the Lord appeared to his disciples and said, ‘Peace be with you’, that is, Peace, Shalom, Salvation! And he showed them his hands and his side! And the disciples were filled with joy, that is, the joy of the resurrection, the joy of salvation, the joy of life! 

Again, he said to them, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you’. After saying this he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit, those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; those whose sins you retain, they are retained’. That is, ‘Go and announce the gospel of the Lord’s resurrection, so that those who believe and are baptized will have their sins forgiven; but those who do not believe and are not baptized will not have their sins forgiven’! This is the Pentecost of John’s gospel!

But more than that, the gospel does not only tell us about the sacrament of baptism, but the gospel also tells us about the sacrament of penance or reconciliation! After baptism we still commit sins, but the Lord is merciful, he continues to forgive our sins in the sacrament of penance! That is why today we also celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday! 

The second part of the gospel tells us that when the Lord appeared to the disciples, Thomas was not with them and when they told him that they have seen the Lord he refused to believe. He refused to believe until he has seen the lord and until he has put his finger into the holes that the nails have made in his hands and until he has put his hand into his side. 

Eight days later the Lord appeared to the disciples again and this time Thomas was with them. Again, the Lord said, ‘Peace be with you’. Peace, Shalom, Salvation! And the Lord invited Thomas to put his finger into the holes of his hands and to put his hand into his side and to doubt no longer but believe! 

Thomas immediately professed his faith in the Lord, ‘My Lord and my God’! And Jesus said to him, ‘You believe because you have seen me; blessed are those who have not seen me yet believe’! That is, blessed are those who have not seen me yet believe on the witness and testimony of the apostles, particularly Thomas! (Jn 17:20-23; Ac 1:8;NJB)
2. The first reading tells us about the four chief characteristics of the first Christian community! (CSB; Fuller) (i) They were faithful to the teachings of the apostles. The apostles taught them the Old Testament scriptures in the light of the Incarnation! (NJB) (ii) They shared their spiritual gifts as well as their material possessions! (iii) They celebrated the Eucharist! (iv) They prayed!

The first reading tells us about the first BEC (Basic Ecclesial Community)! That is why our BECs must also have the above characteristics, that is, the scriptures, sharing of spiritual and material gifts, Eucharist, and prayer! Thus we read in the first reading: 

“The whole community remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.” (Ac 2:42; Sunday Missal) 
3. The second reading tells us about the sacrament of baptism! (CSB; Fuller) The second reading tells us that God in his mercy has given us a new birth/life in the sacrament of baptism through the death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ! And this new life will only be complete, full and perfect at the second coming of Jesus Christ!

In the meantime we live in faith and love even and especially in the face of sufferings and persecutions so that our faith and love will grow until the second coming of Jesus Christ when our salvation and life will be complete, full and perfect!
4. The responsorial psalm is the same as that of Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday! The responsorial psalm is a hymn of thanksgiving for salvation in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Thus the response: 

“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.” or “Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!” (Ps 117:1; Sunday Missal (SM))

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us to praise and thank God for his infinite love! The second stanza tells us that the Lord is our Savior! And the third stanza tells us about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Thus we read in the third stanza: 

“The stone which the builders rejected has become the corner stone.” (Ps 117:22; SM)

The New Testament sees this verse as referring to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! (Mt 21:42; Ac 4:11; CSB)

And it is all God’s work! Thus again we read in the third stanza: 

“This is the work of the Lord, a marvel in our eyes.” (Ps 117:23; SM)

That is why we give praise and thanks to God in the response: 

“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.” or “Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!” 
5. Today we also celebrate “Divine Mercy Sunday”! That is why we have the picture of “Divine Mercy”! In the picture we see a red ray and a white ray of light emitting from the heart of Jesus! The red ray symbolizes the blood sacrificed on the cross and the white ray symbolizes the Holy Spirit that comes from Christ’s death and resurrection! (Jn 19:34; NJB) The red and white rays also symbolize the two most important sacraments of the Church, that is, Baptism (white) and Eucharist (red)! That is why it is most important that after baptism we have to come to Mass every Sunday to continue to receive the “divine mercy”! Today we also thank God for his divine mercy in the canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II! Again, a happy and blessed Easter to all of you! Amen!

3rd Sunday of Easter (C) – 10th April 2016

Theme: THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH TO PREACH THE GOOD NEWS FOR THE SALVATION OF THE WORLD

  • Acts 5:27-32. 40-41;
  • Psalm 29 (30):2. 4-6. 11-13. R/ v. 2;
  • Apocalypse 5:11-14
  • John 21:1-19 (Shorter Form, 21:1-14)

Today is the 3rd Sunday of Easter, Liturgical year C. The readings today tell us about the mission of the Church to preach the good news for the salvation of the world!

The gospel today tells us that the disciples were fishing the whole night in the Sea of Tiberias, but they caught nothing! More importantly, the gospel tells us that the Risen Lord appeared to them and instructed them to cast their net on the right side of the boat and they caught so many fish that they could not pull the net in!

The gospel also tells us that when the Risen Lord asked for some of the fish they have caught, Peter pulled in the net with 153 big fish and the net was not broken!

Finally the gospel tells us that the Risen Lord invited the disciples for breakfast. He took the bread and gave it to them and he did the same with the fish!

The gospel ends by telling us that this was the third time that the Risen Lord appeared to the disciples!

The gospel today tells us of 3 important things:

(i) That the mission of the Church is to preach the good news for the salvation of the world! That is, the mission of the Church is to be the fisher of men, to catch men for God! In the Early Church fish symbolizes the baptized Christian in the waters of baptism! (Lefrois) The boat symbolizes the Church!

More importantly, the gospel tells us that without the Risen Lord our mission will be a failure, we will not catch anything; but with the Risen Lord our mission will be a success, we will catch so many fish that we will not be able to pull the net in!

(ii) That Peter is the head of the Church, and that the mission of the Church is universal, and that though the Church is universal, it is a unity under Peter the first Pope! Thus when Risen Lord requested for some fish, it was Peter who pulled the net in, and though there were 153 large fish, the net did not break! The 153 big fish symbolizes the universal mission of the Church and the unbroken net symbolizes the unity of the Church! 

(iii) That the Risen Lord is present with us today in the Eucharist! Thus the Risen Lord took the bread and gave it to the disciples and he did the same with the fish. The Lord did the same thing at the “multiplication of the loaves” which is a symbol of the Eucharist! (Jn 6:11)

Similarly, the gospel of Luke on “the road to Emmaus” tells us that the Risen Lord is present in the Word of God, in the Eucharist and in the Community! (Lk 24: 13-35) This gospel of Luke is read on the 3rd Sunday of Easter, Year A.

The gospel ends by telling us that this is the 3rd time that the Risen Lord appeared to the disciples!

 

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the apostles and the Holy Spirit are the witnesses to the resurrection of the Lord! That is, the apostles filled with the Holy Spirit are the witnesses of the resurrection of the Lord! (Ac 1:8; Mt 10:20; NJB) The apostles filled with the Holy Spirit witnessed to the resurrection of the Lord by proclaiming the Good News of the resurrection even in the face of persecution and death:

“It was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, but it was you who had him executed by hanging on a tree. By his own right hand God has now raised him up to be leader and savior, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel. We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.” (Ac 5:30-32; SM)   

 

The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving for salvation! In the responsorial psalm today we praise and thank God for saving us through his Son Jesus Christ! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.” (Ps 29 (30): 2; SM)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza praises and thanks God for salvation (vv. 2 & 4). The second stanza invites others to praise and thank God for salvation (vv. 5-6). The third stanza continues to praise and thank God for salvation (vv. 11-13). (CSB)

 

The second reading is a doxology. The second reading has two parts. In the first part the angels in heaven give glory, praise, honor and power to the Lamb of God who saved us (vv. 11-12)! In the second part the whole of creation gives glory, praise, honor and power to God the Father and to the Lamb of God (vv. 13-14)! (CSB)

Today we join the angels in heaven and the whole of creation to give glory, praise, honor and power to God the Father and to the Lamb of God for our salvation!

 

Today we thank God for the resurrection of Jesus Christ and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we may proclaim the good news of the resurrection, so that all may believe and be baptized and be saved! A happy Easter to all of you! Amen!