Thursday, April 28, 2011

Divine Mercy Sunday- Reflections- Fr. Micahel U. Udoekpo

Readings: Acts 2:42-47; Ps 118:2-4,13-15,22-24; 1 Pet 1:3-9 (A); Acts 4:32-35; 1 John 5:1-6 (B); Acts 5:12-16; Rev 1:9-11a, 12-13,17-19 (B) and John 20:19-31 (ABC)

 Conduits of Divine Mercy!

Today the Church celebrates “Divine Mercy Sunday” commemorating Jesus’ revelations to Saint Faustina on the Divine Mercy. Pope John Paul II granted this Feast to the Universal Church on the occasion of his raising Sr. Faustina, a young Polish woman to Sainthood on April 30, 2000 and was decreed to be celebrated on the 2nd Sunday of Easter on May 23, 2000. It is an invitation to us in the midst of life’s difficulties and vicissitudes to always place our confidence in divine benevolence.

Christ’s enthronement on the Cross, his Resurrection and his multiple appearances to his seemingly disillusioned and doubting disciples were nothing but acts of love and mercy towards us. Peter in the Second reading recognizes this when he said “blessed be the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of  Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet 1:3-9).

These disciples, especially those who lived through the Paschal mystery needed the power of Christ’s Peace to calm their fears and be strengthened in the supernatural gifts of faith and fortitude by the Holy Spirit., wherever they were hiding for fear of the "Jews." You will recall the other day, in Luke Chapter 24: 13-35, at Emmaus, when Jesus walked besides Cleopas and his friend on their return from Jerusalem, clouded in sad conversation they did not recognized Jesus until the Risen Christ spent time breaking bread with them. Besides, walking with his disciples, or breaking bread with them in other appearances, he ate baked fish with them (Lk 24:35-48) and also gave them encouraging instruction by the beach in Tiberias (John 21:1-14)

 In John 20:19-31 the Risen Lord appeared to the restless and frightened disciples with blessings of Peace. He breathed on them and commissions them on preaching mission with the power to forgive sins even of those who would persecute the Church. He invites Thomas to touch his wounds; “wounds” that heals Thomas and our faithlessness; “wounds” that replaces lack of peace with Peace of Christ; “wounds” that replaces the spirit of darkness with God’s Spirit of LIGHT. Thomas touches wounds of testimony to truth, courage, unlimited mercy, forgiveness and imitation of the type of love Christ has loved by his examples.   Thomas also touches “wounds” of love, unity, communion and the sharing of the early Christian Community.
Christ's Events: Life, Ministry, Death, Resurrection, Appearances his Ascension and promise of the Holy Spirit warranted testimonies, faith witnessing and the preaching of the early Church ‘they devoted themselves to teaching of the apostles and to the communal life (Konoinia), breaking of bread and to the prayers…” (Acts 2:42-47). Moreover, “they were of one heart and mind and no one claim that any on his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the Apostles bore witness to the Resurrection of Christ…” (Acts 4:32-35). Their witnesses were blessed with the spirit of sharing, mercy towards their neighbors. Witnesses also blessed with true communion with one another; that same communion that our first communion friends and children will be sharing with us during these Sundays, between now and the Pentecost.

Like the Mary Magdalene, Peter, Cleopas, Thomas and the Eleven disciples we do have moment of doubts, uncertainties, trials, confusions, disbelief, hopeless and frustrations. If there moments we have acted uncharitably on mercilessly towards our neighbors let us deep our hands of brokenness into those wounds of Christ!  And be faith- filled, and healed by the wounded healer! Even as we deep our fingers into the communion plates and drink from those cups, may we be strengthened in words of mercy and faith to say with Thomas “my Lord and My God.”  And may our society and the Church be blessed with fruitful evangelization, Peace, Love (1 John 5:1-6), hope (1 Pet 1:3-9), faith and Unity. And may our families, streets, neighborhood, churches and workplaces continue to be channels and conduits for the transmission of Divine Mercy and faith in the Risen Christ.