2nd Sunday of Easter/Divine Mercy Sunday
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: April 16, 2023
The first day of the week. At that time, Sunday was the first day of the week. The last day of the week, or seventh day, was the Sabbath, Saturday. In John’s Gospel, the appearances of the Risen Lord Jesus normally took place on the first day of the week. Already, Sunday had become an important day of gathering for the Christian community, due to the connection to the Resurrection.
In the story of Thomas, we see the disciples gathered on the first day of the week when the Risen Lord Jesus appears to them. But, Thomas was not with them. He misses the appearance of Jesus and doubts when they tell him that they had seen the Lord.
A week later, Thomas is with the community when Jesus appears to them. This time he recognizes Jesus with the great profession of faith, “My Lord and my God.” He doubted when apart from the Christian community, he came to see when back with the community of faith.
Coming for the Eucharist each Sunday keeps us connected to the Christian community. Keeps our eyes open to recognize the Risen Lord Jesus in our lives. Alone, it is difficult to keep our faith alive, it is difficult to recognize Jesus appearing in our life.
During Easter, our first reading will often be from the Acts of the Apostles. The account of the life of the early church. We see them praying together and sharing with each other. It speaks of them sharing in the “breaking of bread.” The breaking of bread refers to the Eucharist that you and I are sharing in right now.
What does Jesus say to the disciples when he appears to them in that room? “Peace be with you.” “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any they are forgiven them.”
The Eucharist is meant to bring us peace, in the midst of all of the challenges of life, in this moment we have a time of peace. Then we receive the Holy Spirit, in other words, we are to become instruments of God. We are sent out from here with a mission. One key part of the mission of the church is forgiveness.
Each of you are receiving the Holy Spirit today and being sent out to share in the mission of the church. Who in your life needs forgiveness? Who needs to know that God is able to forgive them? In your family, at work, at school, in our parish, who needs you to be an instrument of peace? Where are you needed to help to reconcile people when there are divisions?
On this first day of the week, we are gathered for the breaking of the bread, like the first disciples of Jesus. The Risen Lord Jesus will be here with us speaking a word of peace to our hearts. Then we are all sent out to share in the mission of the church. Be instruments of unity, instruments of mercy, instruments of forgiveness.