Divine Mercy Sunday (C); April 28, 2019
Acts 5:12-16 Ps 118 Rv 1:1-19 Jn 20:19-31
Jesus is Risen! What a joy to proclaim this wonderful message—one that is the ultimate “game changer”! The Resurrection is THE pivotal moment in all of Salvation History. Everything has changed; everything is relative to this event! Why? Sin and death have been transformed. And, we are given the promise of eternal life, which, incredibly begins here and now: as we abide in the Risen Jesus, we will experience “a joy that will never pass away.” That’s why the celebration of the Easter mysteries brings about much healing. So, most fittingly, the Second Sunday of Easter is aptly named Divine Mercy Sunday because the Risen Jesus graciously extends the Life he shares with his Father to us: “Peace be with you” (Jn 29:19). Before we can receive the Peace of Christ, however, we, like the disciples, have to overcome our fear, which sets the stage of embracing the mission of Jesus, who sends them, sends us, into the world to proclaim the message of forgiveness.
Notice how the Gospel account unfolds: “…when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst…(v. 19b). The disciples out of fear had locked themselves in the (upper) room. Is there anyone in this assembly who has not been afraid? Usually we are afraid because we seem unable to control what is happening to us or what might happen to us. As a result, we lock ourselves in; we lock God out. We all have an interior struggle between a closed heart and a call of love to open the doors closed by self-reference and sin.. How do we do that? When we call that which is good evil, and evil good. When we accept vice as normal and virtue as weird. When we accept the values of our society that promotes individualism, consumerism, hedonism, and order that is coupled with violence, we lock ourselves into an interior prison. Out of fear, we stay behind closed doors because it is the only world we know. So, we rely on our ego—with its conniving projects, agendas, rationalizations, tricks and games—to control our lives and those around us.
Despite the locked doors, “Jesus came and stood in their midst…”
(v 19c). And, he calls us to open the doors closed by sin. It is a call that frees us to go out of ourselves. It is that pivotal moment in our lives when we know that our lives our no longer about ourselves, but our life is about the Risen Christ, who stands in our midst today. Only the risen Jesus can break through any obstacle, can overcome any barrier that we set up. He alone can burst into the confines of our isolated, sinful, fearful soul whether we want him to or not. That was the entire reason why He became man and suffered and died. We are redeemed and He will continue to relate to us. He will never stop hounding us until we surrender to his love.
Brothers and sisters, the risen Jesus wants to enter into each one of us to break open the locked doors of our hearts. Jesus, who by his resurrection has overcome the fear, dread, and anxiety which imprisons us, wishes to throw open our closed doors. For what purpose?: TO SEND US OUT TO PROCLAIM HIS FORGIVENESS AND MERCY TO THE WORLD!
People of God, the Way of Jesus is only a one way street. There is no Plan B. His Way only goes in one direction: into the Kingdom of God, which culminates in our eternal destiny: Heaven. This means we must move beyond ourselves in which (1) I am the center of my life, (2) my life is about me, and (3) and I am in control. We must move from this Ego-drama to the Theo-Drama in which we give vibrant, joyous witness to the healing power of love that has conquered us in Christ Jesus. We look out into the world and we see before us a wounded humanity that is fearful and brutalized, that bears the scars of pain, uncertainty, and neglect. Before the anguished cry for mercy and peace, we hear Jesus’ inspiring invitation: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (jn 20:21).
This is the linchpin: in God’s mercy, all our infirmities find healing. There is no wound caused by rejection, failure, loss, or deadly sin that cannot be healed. His mercy is not far off in the distant future, but it seeks to be poured into our hearts and souls here and now! His mercy want to overcome our addictions and obsessions, to apply balm to our wounds. Jesus wants to heal us.
That’s why Jesus founded the Church, which is his mystical Body. He needs apostles and disciples of mercy to touch the wounds that afflict the bodies and souls of many of our brothers and sisters. When we go outside of our “skin encapsulated egos”, to bring healing where people are hurting, we are professing our belief in the Risen Christ. And, in so doing, we make him present and alive; we allow others who experience his mercy to recognize him as “Lord and God” (20:28). This is the Mission that Jesus entrusts to us, the baptized and confirmed.
That’s why this return of Jesus is the great moment of the forgiveness of sins. Appropriately, the Church designates the 2nd Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy. And, the local Church at our Diocese needs to ask forgiveness for those clergy, priests and deacons, who have abused minors and young people, which leave deep seated wounds and can even bring about the loss of faith for the victims. We earnestly pray for God’s infinite mercy, which alone can bring healing to our broken body.
Church, let us always keep in mind that the Spirit of the Risen Christ drove out fear from the Apostles hearts and impelled them to leave the Upper Room in order to spread the Gospel. He is doing the same with us. Let us have the courage in witnessing to our faith in the Risen Christ! We must not be afraid of being Christian in homes, the workplace, and in the political/economic arena. We must not be afraid of living as Christians here and now. We must have this courage to go and proclaim the Risen Christ, for he is our peace.
We, the Church now have our Mission: to bring the whole world into the circle of divine love—to experience what the disciples experienced that night. The forgiveness of sins: that’s our job, that our purpose, and that’s our Mission– to be mediators of divine mercy. Amen.