2nd Sunday of Easter
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: April 11, 2021
A week before Easter a family that I know contacted me. Their 5 year old son has some sort of eye issue and they were informed that he would require surgery. They asked if it was possible for them to come in to see me to celebrate the Sacrament of Sick with him. I met them in our church and we talked and then we prayed together the Sacrament of the Sick. I read a short Gospel story of Jesus saying to his disciples, “Come to me for I am gentle and humble of heart.” Then I anointed this 5 year old boy with the Oil of the Sick on his forehead and both of his palms.
The next day his mother sent me an email to thank me for the Anointing. She said that as they were driving home her son told them “how special and loved he felt by us all.” He said that his favourite part was when I read from the Bible and when I blessed him with oil on his hands.
This is a pretty good description of the Sacraments. We listen to the Word of God and then are blessed in some ritual action. And in each Sacrament, the Church as the Body of Christ makes Jesus present to bring healing and peace. Each person celebrating a Sacrament should feel exactly what that young boy felt. “To feel special and loved by all.”
In Baptism of a baby, the family should all sense that this child is special and loved by God and the whole church.
In the Eucharist, each of us should feel connected, in communion with the Body of Christ in the Church and touched by Jesus. Each person who comes to Mass in our parish should feel that they are special and loved by all.
After the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, the disciples were lost. At first they hid away in fear. They did not know what they should do next. Only gradually do they discover their mission, their call to be the church in the world. We see the Risen Lord Jesus appear to the disciples in that upper room. His first words are “Peace be with you.” Fear and anxiety was paralyzing them and preventing them from being the church, from taking on their mission. Then Jesus breathes on them. Symbol of the coming of the Holy Spirit, the breath of God. Then he says to them, “If you forgive the sins of any they are forgiven them;”
Here we see a glimpse into the mission and challenge of the church. To be an instrument of peace. To bring forgiveness into the world, into human hearts. The church, us, our parish, are called to bring mercy and forgiveness into the world. To be with others so that they hear in their hearts the words of Jesus, “Peace be with you.”