Saturday, March 29, 2008

March 30: Second Sunday of Easter Year A

March 30: Second Sunday of Easter Year A or Divine Mercy Sunday
Readings: Acts 2:42-47; I Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31

Peace, forgiveness and reconciliation are some of the key words underlying the message of this Sunday’s Gospel. The Second Sunday of Easter is also known as Divine Mercy Sunday. Indeed the Gospel reading leads us to discover the meaning of God’s mercy. After Jesus rose from the dead, He appears to his disciples once again. On that occasion Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them." (Jn 20:22) In other words, Jesus gives them the Holy Spirit who would accompany them in their mission of bringing about peace, forgiveness and reconciliation.

I would like to begin with a remarkable story that helps to capture the message of Divine Mercy Sunday. It is the story of Fr. John Corapi who had an extraordinary journey of discovery of divine mercy. John Corapi first served in the US Army in Vietnam, and then his journey took him from one extreme to another. He became a successful real estate agent that made him a millionaire living in Las Vegas and Hollywood. He had a yacht, a Ferrari and a beautiful home on the ocean. But his inner life was so empty that it led him to cocaine addiction. Consequently, he lost his business, home - and all he had. He finally wound up a destitute wandering the streets of Los Angeles. Due to the prayers and tears of his mother - and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin - he began to change. Finally he made the step by approaching a priest for confession. After making his confession, he told his confessor, "Father, I think I am being called to the priesthood." The priest was obviously taken by surprise, but something else caught his attention. He looked at his watch and said, "John, it is exactly three o'clock, the Hour of the Divine Mercy!" John Corapi eventually entered the seminary and was ordained by Pope John Paul II in 1991 at the age of 44. Fr. John Corapi gave his witness and spoke with such conviction that even the hardest hearts were brought closer to Christ. Fr. Corapi has indeed become one of the foremost promoters of the Divine Mercy. He experienced the grace of Divine Mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation - and became an apostle of that grace. His witness is simple: God’s name is Mercy!

The message of this Sunday may be summed up in the following points: 1) Today we affirm our faith in the Risen Lord who channels the greatest gift: the grace of God's Divine Mercy.2) Like Fr. John Corapi you and I are also called to experience God’s loving mercy through Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord, whose Heart is full of compassion for us all. 3) Just as the Father sends Jesus to share the grace of Divine Mercy with us all, we too are sent to be instruments of peace, forgiveness, and God’s reconciling love and Divine Mercy.

©2008 John S. Mbinda

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