2ND Sunday of Easter—Divine Mercy Sunday (Cycle C) – April 11, 2010 Scripture Readings First Acts 5:12-16 Second Revelation 1:9-11a

, 12-13, 17-19 Gospel John 20:19-31 Prepared by: Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P. 1. Subject Matter
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The miracle of the unity of the first believers Divine mercy The significance of the risen Christ’s wounds

2. Exegetical Notes

“They were all together in Solomon’s portico…. The people esteemed them:” “The work of signs and wonders continues by means of the hands of the apostles. The apostles gather at a known locale so that people know where to come. These signs underscore that God is at work.” (Darrell L. Bock) “Peace be with you:” “The disciples are drawn into the unity and mission of Father and Son.” (Andreas J. Kostenberger) “I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever….” “The Lord of life is paradoxically one who was dead, that is to say someone very much rooted in history and its conflicts. The Church is able to confront death valiantly because it is in the hands of the Lord of life.” (The International Bible Commentary)

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3. References to the Catechism of the Catholic Church

820 "Christ bestowed unity on his Church from the beginning. This unity, we believe, subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time." Christ always gives his Church the gift of unity, but the Church must always pray and work to maintain, reinforce, and perfect the unity that Christ wills for her. This is why Jesus himself prayed at the hour of his Passion, and does not cease praying to his Father, for the unity of his disciples: " That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, . . . so that the world may know that you have sent me." The desire to recover the unity of all Christians is a gift of Christ and a call of

the Holy Spirit.
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1846 The Gospel is the revelation in Jesus Christ of God's mercy to sinners.

1694 Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, Christians are "dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus" and so participate in the life of the Risen Lord. Following Christ and united with him, Christians can strive to be "imitators of God as beloved children, and walk in love" by conforming their thoughts, words and actions to the "mind . . . which is yours in Christ Jesus," and by following his example.
4. Patristic Commentary and Other Authorities St. Thomas Aquinas: “God is merciful. He works above his justice, not against it. When you give two hundred pieces from your own money to a man who is owed one hundred by another, you are acting, not against justice, but from liberality and mercy So it is when you forgive an injury, for forgiveness is like giving a present: bestow on one another even as Christ has pardoned you. Mercy is the fulfillment of justice, not the abolition: mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” Venerable John Paul II: “In Christ and through Christ, God also becomes especially visible in his mercy; that is to say, there is emphasized that attribute of the divinity which the Old Testament, using various concepts and terms, already defined as ‘mercy.’ Christ confers on the whole of the Old Testament tradition about God’s mercy a definitive meaning. Not only does he speak of it and explain it by the use of comparisons and parables, but above all he himself makes it incarnate and personifies it. He himself, in a certain sense, is mercy. To the person who sees it in him—and finds it in him—God becomes ‘visible’ in a particular way as the Father ‘who is rich in mercy.’” Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar: “So you, too, come up Thomas. Come forth from your cave of sorrows. Put your finger here and see my hands. Extend your hand and place it in my side. And do not think that your blind suffering is more clairvoyant than my grace…. But since you are so wounded and the open torment of your heart has opened up to the abyss of your very self, put out your hand to me and, with it, feel the pulse of another Heart: through this new experience your soul will surrender and heave up the dark gall which it has long collected. I must overpower you. I cannot spare exacting from you your melancholy—your most-loved possession. Give it to me, even if it costs you your soul and your inner self thinks it must die. Give me this idol, this cold stony clot in your breast, and in its place I will give you a new heart of flesh that will beat to the pulse of my own Heart. Give me this self of yours, which lives on its not being able to live, which is sick because it cannot die. Let it perish, and you will finally begin to live. You are enamored of the sad puzzle of your incomprehensible ego. But you have already been seen through and comprehended, for look: if your heart accuses you, I am nevertheless greater than this your heart, and I know everything. Dare to make the leap into the Light! Do not take the world to be more profound than God! Do not think that I cannot make short work of you! Your city is besieged, your provisions are exhausted: you must capitulate. What could be simpler and sweeter than opening the door to love? What could be easier than falling to one’s knee and saying: ‘My Lord and my God!’”? Msgr. Luigi Giussani: “The Church presents itself to the observer as community…. We can see how the Church began: it literally allowed itself to ‘be seen’ under Solomon’s Portico, it

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proposed itself through the mere sight of it, through a first perception which can only be described as community…. The visible ‘we’ was the first feature of the Church’s face that an observer could have photographed…. Those who would gather under Solomon’s Portico were the first sign. That emergent group of people presented themselves as people who, having the living presence of Christ among them, were the almost physiological continuity of that reality, bonded as they were to that living presence in the concreteness of daily, family life. 5. Examples from the Saints and Other Exemplars

From the Diary of St. Faustina: I want to love you as no human soul has ever loved you before; and although I am utterly miserable and small, I have nevertheless cast the anchor of my trust deep down into the abyss of your mercy, O my God and Creator! In spite of my great misery I fear nothing, but hope to sing you a hymn of glory for ever. Let no soul, even the most miserable, fall prey to doubt; for, as long as one is alive, each one can become a great saint, so great is the power of God’s grace. It remains only for us not to oppose God’s action.O Jesus, if only I could become like mist before your eyes, to cover the earth so that you would not see its terrible crimes. Once, after an adoration for our country, a pain pierced my soul, and I began to pray in this way: “I beg you, Jesus, look not on our sins, but on the tears of little children, on the hunger and cold they suffer. Jesus, for the sake of these innocent ones, grant me the grace that I am asking of you, for my country.” At that moment, I saw the Lord Jesus, his eyes filled with tears, and he said to me, “You see, my daughter, what great compassion I have for them. Know that it is they who uphold the world.”

6. Quotations from Pope Benedict XVI

“Risen, Jesus gave his disciples a new unity, stronger than before, invincible because it was founded not on human resources but on divine mercy, which made them all feel loved and forgiven by him. It is therefore God's merciful love that firmly unites the Church, today as in the past, and makes humanity a single family; divine love which through the Crucified and Risen Jesus forgives us our sins and renews us from within.” “Charity transcends justice and completes it in the logic of giving and forgiving.3 The earthly city is promoted not merely by relationships of rights and duties, but to an even greater and more fundamental extent by relationships of gratuitousness, mercy and communion. Charity always manifests God's love in human relationships as well, it gives theological and salvific value to all commitment for justice in the world.” “Even in the most difficult and complex times, besides recognizing what is happening, we must above all else turn to God's love. Development requires attention to the spiritual life, a serious consideration of the experiences of trust in God, spiritual fellowship in Christ, reliance upon God's providence and mercy, love and forgiveness, self-denial, acceptance of others, justice and peace. All this is essential if hearts of stone are to be transformed into hearts of flesh (Ezek 36:26), rendering life on earth divine and thus more worthy of humanity. All this is of man, because man is the subject of his own existence; and at the same time it is of God, because God is at the beginning and end of all that is good, all that leads to salvation.”

7. Other Considerations

Like that great moment in creation when God breathed life into Adam, the New Adam now comes to his disciples and, in an act of re-creation, breathes on. When God first breathed, mere matter became a man. Now, however, when the risen Jesus breathes on his disciples, they become like God: they possess the divine power to forgive sins. The first man and woman rebelled in disobedience and forfeited their relationship with God in their futile attempt to become divine. Today God himself comes to those who are least deserving, those desirous only of being forgotten, and freely gives them his divinity. When Jesus is in our midst we become like him. The deadly sin of Adam and Eve drove them to hide from God in their nakedness. The risen Jesus comes to where the disciples are hiding to free them from their sin-driven fear. To do so, in a way Jesus himself becomes naked. He shows them his brutalized body, and, later, he commands Thomas to touch his ever-present wounds. We must believe that the friendship lost by Adam and Eve has now been restored by the death and resurrection of Christ. That is what Jesus declares when he says, “Peace.” Love is real— yet no one has ever seen it. Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.

Recommended Resources PLEASE CHECK SPR ARCHIVES Benedict XVI, Pope. Benedictus. Yonkers: Magnificat, 2006. Biblia Clerus: http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerus/index_eng.html Cameron, Peter John. To Praise, To Bless, To Preach—Cycle C. Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, 2000. Hahn, Scott: http://www.salvationhistory.com/library/scripture/churchandbible/homilyhelps/homilyhelps.cfm. Martin, Francis: http://www.hasnehmedia.com/homilies.shtml http://sc.fhview.com/sc_customplayer/seriesitems/1/119117

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