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Second Sunday of Easter, Feast of Divine Mercy.

The mercy and peace of the Risen Christ

4/21/2017

The mercy and peace of the Risen Christ are announced to us by the Word of God and are shown by all those who were tireless builders of peace and grace, as St John Paul II.

The greeting of the Risen Christ is always "Peace be with you." It is the peace of Christ who died and rose again, it’s Easter peace, the peace of reconciliation of human beings with God and among themselves. It’s the peace which the world always needs, which so desperately it needs in this day and age. John Paul II proclaimed in his Easter message: "Peace be with you! This is the first greeting of the Risen One to his disciples; a greeting which echoes today throughout the world. O Good News, so long awaited, so greatly desired! O proclamation of consolation for all those oppressed beneath the burden of sin and its many structures! For all, especially for the least and the poor, we proclaim today the hope of peace, of true peace, founded on the solid pillars of love and justice, of truth and freedom”.

 

On April 7, 1901, Luisa in her diary described what she saw, but above all what she experienced in contemplating the resurrection of Jesus.  She saw Jesus with His face so refulgent, that it could not be compared to any other splendor. It seemed to her that the Most Holy Humanity of Our Lord, though It was living flesh, was yet so bright and translucent, that one could see with clarity the Divinity united to the Humanity.

While she was seeing that light, she heard a voice telling her that Jesus’ Humanity received so much glory by means of perfect obedience which, destroying the ancient nature completely, gave Him back the new nature, glorious and immortal. In the same way, by means of obedience, the soul can form within herself the perfect resurrection to virtues. For example: if the soul is afflicted, obedience will make her rise again to joy; if restless, obedience will make her rise again to peace; if tempted, obedience will administer to her the strongest chain with which to bind the enemy, and will make her rise again victorious over the diabolical snares; if she is besieged by passions and vices, by killing these, obedience will make her rise again to virtues. This, to the soul, and in due time, it will also form the resurrection of the body.


The passage of the Gospel of this Sunday tells us of the two appearances of the Risen Jesus, the first, on the evening of Easter, to the disciples who stayed in the Upper Room and the other, eight days later, again in the Upper Room, with the emphasis of St. Thomas' incredulity and then of  his faith.


Jesus entrusts to the Apostles and the Church His own mission: "
As the Father sent me, so am I sending you." The first task of this mission is to welcome the Holy Spirit and to forgive sins, let people meet the mercy of God.

It is interesting to note that Jesus did not institute the Sacrament of Reconciliation on Good Friday or on another occasion, but the evening of Easter. On the day of the greatest joy Jesus gives us the Sacrament of Reconciliation, because He wants to give us the endless joy of God,  He wants us to experience all the tenderness of God our Father, as He told us in the parable the merciful Father.


Thomas was absent at the initial meeting. Faced with the narrative of the other apostles, he insists on not believing, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." It seems that the meeting of the following Sunday is wanted by Jesus precisely to meet Thomas (who certainly had a week of hell as he was without faith)  in order to help him to believe, to confirm him in his fidelity to Him who died and rose, and to the community of others (the Church). Jesus said: "Put your finger, put your hand ... don't be faithless any longer. Believe!". We should feel that those words are also strongly addressed to us. Thomas could say the highest confession of faith: "You are my Lord and my God."

 

Jesus concluded: "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed".  Here, the believers of all times, the simple Christians are already announced, for example the saints and the martyrs, the apostles of evangelization and those of charity; Here, we too are  pre-announced,  the believers of today who, “not having seen Him risen”, know that Christ died on the cross, He rose from the dead and is the Savior, the only Savior of the world, the Savior of the life of each of us. Christ is our treasure, our joy, the meaning of our whole life. The gospel showed those facts " so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name”.

 

We too would like to see Jesus, especially when we feel alone, in the test, under the weight of the difficulties. Perhaps we think, if we had lived in Jesus' time, we could see Him, touch Him, hear Him, talk to Him ... Jesus said to Thomas: " blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed ".

 

Jesus also thought of us, as we can’t see Jesus with the eyes of the body, but we can see Him with the eyes of faith. Even in Jesus' day it was not enough to see Him; although many people saw him, they did not believe Him. Already at that time many of the first Christians had not seen Jesus personally, but they lived the beatitude that we are called to live too.

 

The first Christians had understood where the faith, of which Jesus speaks, arises: it arises from love. Believing is discovering that we are loved by God; it is learning to love others every day. So the first Christian community, of which the Book of Acts speaks, testifies. If you love, God enters you. He gives a new way of looking at the world around us. Faith makes us see the events with the eyes of God, it makes discover the plan that He has for us, for the other people, for the whole creation.

don Marco
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