Saturday, April 2, 2016

Homily for Divine Mercy Sunday (2nd Sunday of Easter) Year ABC: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo

Homily for Divine Mercy Sunday (2nd Sunday of Easter) Year ABC: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
·         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 (C)
·         John 20:19-31(ABC)

 Christ of Easter: Conduits of Divine Mercy!

Today is the 2nd Sunday of Easter, but declared by our Blessed John Paul the II on April 30, 2000 as the Divine Mercy. He did so to commemorate Christ’s revelations to Saint Sister Faustina of Poland. Divine Mercy is a celebration of who God is, – merciful, kind, faithful, compassionate, forgiving, – as manifested in Christ –whose resurrection, of course we celebrate this Easter.  This Year’s celebration is unique, in that it falls as you know in the Year of Mercy, declared by the Holy Father, Pope Francis. What a great celebration! Divine Mercy in a Year of Mercy. It’s a celebration of merciful, forgiving; kind and compassionate God, in a Year of Mercy!! What a unique attribute!

This attribute of God finds expressions  in different ways and not only in the Old Testaments,/the Hebrew Bible (Exodus 34:5–7; cf.  Num 14:18; Pss 86:5, 15; 103:8; 145:8; Neh 9:17; Micah 7:18-20; Jonah 4:2) but particularly in today’s bible readings. In Exodus 34:5–7, for instance, God reveals himself to Moses on Mount Sinai as “a God gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love and fidelity, continuing his love for a thousand Generations… the ereke-payim.”

 In our generation of the New Testament Christ shows us this love not only in the events of the cross and resurrection which we celebrate during Holy Week and Easter.  In today’s Gospel (John 20:19-31), after his resurrection Christ continues to appear  before his disillusioned disciples, including the doubting Thomas. Thank God he finally put his finger there, in Christ's wound! His appearances were not in vain. They were to strengthen their faith. In his appearances he brings them peace, shalom. He shows he cares. He wants to know how they were doing, their well-being! He is checking -in on them! He brings his love, kindness and compassion and commissions them to do likewise to their neighbors, as presented in the 1st readings. Do we check-in our neighbors?

In the Acts of he Apostles, it is an act of mercy for every Christian to keep the faith, to be peaceful, to be forgiving, to spread the Good News, and to bear witness to the events and values that Christ stood food, to check in on their neighbors, as Peter and the Eleven did ( Acts 5:12–16). It was an act of mercy for the early Christian community to be merciful to one another. We are told “all who believed were together and had all things in common’ (Acts 2:42–47). They were of one heart with love, kindness and compassion (Acts 4:32–35), even to the poor, the sick and the needy member of the community.

  We can learn from them. On this day of Divine Mercy Sunday, wherever we are(– sub ways, buses, roads, offices, work places, factories, politics, worship communities, prisons, United Nation)  let us think of those ways (spiritually and corporally) in which we can be present to one another as Christ did with his disillusioned disciples. Let us think of those moments when our faith is being challenged. Those moment when you are sick. Those moment when you loosed your loved one (as did with my senior brother Linus, who passed away on March 30th, 2016... may he rest in peace!].

 Divine Mercy Sunday, especially in this Year of Mercy, challenges us today, in this century, in this year, to stand in the midst of our “broken” and “divided” world, in the midst of our broken homes, families and communities,  and broken relationship with words and gestures of peace, love, compassion, faithfulness, justice and righteousness. Above all, Divine Mercy Sunday challenges us to imitate Christ, by being agents and conduits of divine mercy!