Sunday of Divine Mercy
(Second Sunday in Easter)
April 23, 2017
“Blessed are those who have not seen
and have believed.”
— John 20:29b
For a number of years now, the Sunday after Easter has been designated as “Divine Mercy Sunday.” Our second reading today begins with the words: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope…” In the Gospel reading, Jesus shows mercy to Thomas even though Thomas doubted in the Resurrection. Mercy defines God… it should define us too! An article I read in the August 2016 issue of Columbia magazine published by the Knights of Columbus was entitled “Mercy Begins in the Home.”
The author of the article, Kathleen M. Masi, stated that we often think of “mercy” in relation to forgiveness. But if we look at the corporal and spiritual works of mercy in their essence, they are about recognizing and honoring the elemental goodness – the presence of God – in everyone around us. Mercy is about opening our hearts and minds to accept and love others, rather than judge and censure them. She wrote that mercy begins with kindness. But kindness is in short supply these days. Our culture doesn’t encourage us to find the best in others; we’re conditioned to assume the worst.
So, she asks how can we expect our children to honor the presence of God in a complete stranger – and even enemies – unless they first learn to honor that presence in whose are closest to them? Thus the title of her article “Mercy Begins in the Home.” Throughout the article she gives examples from raising her own children on how showing mercy to others begins with small acts of kindness. As I thought about the article, I realized that the “new birth to hope” we celebrate at Easter, is a hope that our world, our nation, our families, our very self, can be more kind, more merciful. The salvation we celebrate at Easter, mercifully given to us by God through our baptism, is a gift. We are called to BE gifts of mercy to others!
So, as an Easter people, on this Sunday we celebrate Divine Mercy, may we show a little of the Divine in us by being merciful to others! Not just today, but for a lifetime!
First Reading — All who believed were devoted to the teachings of the apostles, the communal life, the breaking of the bread, and prayer (Acts 2:42-47).
Psalm — Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting (Psalm 118).
Second Reading — God has given us an undiminished inheritance, safeguarded for us in heaven (1 Peter 1:3-9).
Gospel — The risen Christ comes to his disciples with peace and the Spirit. The absent Thomas doubts (John 20:19-31).
Readings for the Week
Mon: Acts 4:23-31; Ps 2:1-9; Jn 3:1-8
Tues: 1 Pt 5:5b-14; Ps 89:2-3, 6-7, 16-17; Mk 16:15-20
Wed: Acts 5:17-26; Ps 34:2-9; Jn 3:16-21
Thurs: Acts 5:27-33; Ps 34:2, 9, 17-20; Jn 3:31-36
Fri: Acts 5:34-42; Ps 27:1, 4, 13-14; Jn 6:1-15
Sat: Acts 6:1-7; Ps 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19; Jn 6:16-21
Sun: Acts 2:14, 22-33; Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-11; 1 Pt 1:17-21; Lk 24:13-35