April 11: Second Sunday of Easter Sunday Year C
Readings: Acts 5:12-16; Rev 1:9-11,12-13,17-9; 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 peace, compassion, 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 mom - 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! As we participate in this liturgy today, may we too discover the grace of God’s Mercy. The message of Divine Mercy is simple: 1) God loves us — all of us and wants us to discover that His mercy is greater than our sins; 2) God wants us call upon Him with complete trust, to receive His mercy; 3) God wants us to be merciful to others by letting His mercy overflow from us to others. We too are sent to be instruments of peace, forgiveness, and God’s reconciling love and Divine Mercy. Lord Jesus, may we experience your mercy, so that we may be merciful to others. Risen Lord, alive in our midst, may I completely trust in You.
©2009 John M. Mbinda