Today’s homily is for the 2nd Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, April 24, 2022, and the readings can be found by clicking here.
John’s Gospel tells us quite plainly, “Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.” This is not a history book nor a science book, this was not written to teach us how the heavens go, it was written to teach us how to go to heaven; the very path to eternal life, the salvation of our soul. In God’s merciful love, his son paid a debt of sin that he did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay. And in God’s merciful love he inspired the sacred authors to write the roadmap of salvation. We don’t know of any other way that a person might be saved except through the waters of Baptism.
What a wonderful gift these Scriptures are to us, that preserve the life and teaching of God’s people, Jesus, and the apostles, whom our Lord bound together by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and charged with continuing His work of healing and forgiving sins.
Make no mistake, the sacred scriptures are quite clear, Jesus came to earth and planned to stay with us until the end of time, and He has—not in his flesh—but in the flesh of his ministers by the power of the Holy Spirit. Just soak that up for a second. Jesus is here guarding and guiding his Church. That was John’s vision. He saw Jesus sitting in the midst of seven golden lamp stands that represent the seven churches of Asia Minor, the candle being the bishop, Christ’s light in a world of darkness. In god’s merciful love he remains among us protecting and guiding the Church.
And our bishop has ordained the ministerial priesthood and deacons to be his help in making Jesus a visible reality in the community of faith and in the world. What an honorable vocation, what an exceptional calling. Tragic to have such a shortage of men willing to be his voice, his eyes, his hands and heart. Jesus still sits amidst his Churches—not just in Asia Minor, but throughout the whole world, on every continent. That’s why we must support missions and missionaries—that Christ might be in every country and every community. In God’s merciful love he sends out men and women to share the good news.
Jesus said to the apostles, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And he breathed on them and said “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” And the Apostles courageously went forth, and in Acts we heard, “Many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles.” The sick and those possessed by demons carried into the streets in the hope that the first Pope’s shadow might fall upon them and they might be healed. What a sight. The mission and ministry continues still to this day. The harvest is abundant, but the laborers few. I’m asking for a few things today—first, pray for vocations to the priestly, religious, and diaconal life—not just today, but everyday. Make it a part of your morning or evening prayer, or at meals. Secondly, read the Bible–get one if you don’t have one. If you are a Christian who has not read the story of Jesus’ earthly life from beginning to end, then you need to. Thirdly, support our parish, our diocese, our ministers, and the bishop who makes Christ present to us. With words of affirmation, with service, in financial generosity, or with a card that says thank you for letting Christ the teacher, healer, and servant live among us through your life. And finally, be merciful. Give someone a break–even when they don’t deserve it. Allow God’s Divine Mercy to flow through you to others. Be Divine.