2nd Sunday of Easter, Year B – Homily

2nd Sunday of Easter, Year B
Acts 4:32-35
Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24 (1)
1 John 5:1-6
John 20:19-31
April 11, 2021

On this Second Sunday of Easter we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday.  In today’s gospel Jesus gives the power to forgive sins to the disciples when He says, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.

Jesus wants to forgive us.

Jesus could have been angry with his disciples when they abandoned him in his Passion.  He could have abandoned them but He does not.  He forgives them in his mercy.

As we celebrate the Divine Mercy of God, we should note that God’s mercy is more than just forgiveness.  Forgiveness is very important.  It is what Jesus comes to offer on the Cross.  However, his mercy does not end with forgiveness.

He knows how his disciples are feeling following his Passion.  He knows they have hidden behind locked doors for “fear of the Jews.”  They fear the Jews will do to them what they did to Jesus.

Jesus knows their fears and waste no time in coming to them.  On the very day of his Resurrection He comes to them in the locked room.  He does this with mercy.

He came and “stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  He knows they are confused by his Crucifixion and the news of the empty tomb.  So, He “stood in their midst” so they could begin to understand the Resurrection.  “He showed them his hands and his side.

Knowing their distress, He says to them, a second time, “Peace be with you.”  His peace is not a magic release from earthly distress but it helps us through it.

He does all this with mercy.  God is mercy.  Jesus does the same for us.

One Apostle was not there that day, Thomas.  When the others told him that Jesus had come to them resurrected, he doubts it saying he will not believe unless he sees Jesus for himself and can touch him.

Would we do any different?

No one had risen before.  It sounded strange.

Did Jesus give up on Thomas because of his doubt?

No.  That would not be merciful.  Instead, a week later Jesus returns to his disciples.  This time Thomas was there.  Jesus greets them all with “Peace be with you.”  Then, He speaks directly to Thomas.  He wants to help Thomas in his unbelief.  He invites Thomas to touch his wounds so that Thomas would know without a doubt that He is the same Jesus who was crucified.

Thomas responds, “My Lord and my God!

Jesus showed Thomas mercy.  Thomas responded in faith.

Jesus shows you mercy.  What is your response?

Do you take his mercy for granted?  Do you allow yourself to continue in sin without any effort to change?  Jesus wants to forgive you.  In mercy, He also wants to help you become better.

Our response to God’s mercy should be to love God.  Here I turn to the words from John in our second reading, “For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments.  And his commandments are not burdensome.

Even God’s commandments are based on his mercy.  The commandments are not a burden.  They are an aid.  They guide us to live a good life.  It is in mercy that God directs us to what is good.

So, our response to God’s mercy is love God.  We are also called to love one another.  We see this in our first reading, “The community of believers was of one heart and mind.”  They were not just a bunch of individuals believing on their own.  They came together as a “community.”  They became of “one heart and mind” but the “one” was not one human’s heart and mind but that of God.

They were there for one another because God was there for them.  God treated them with mercy and they did the same to others.  “There was no needy person among them” for they shared everything in common, distributing what each one needed.  We are not talking about socialism.  We are talking about faith.  We are talking about mercy.

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