Sunday of Divine Mercy

iconsacredheart

Have you come to believe because you have seen me?

Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

 

OPENING PRAYER

You expired, O Jesus,

but the source of life gushed forth for souls

and an ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world.

O Fount of Life,

unfathomable Divine Mercy,

envelop the whole world

and empty Yourself out upon us.

O Blood and Water,

which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus

as a fount of mercy for us,

I trust in You.

Amen.

(Diary 1319)

 

COLLECT

God of everlasting mercy,

who in the very recurrence of the paschal feast

kindle the faith of the people you have made your own,

increase, we pray, the grace you have bestowed,

that all may grasp and rightly understanding in what font they have been washed,

by whose Spirit they have been reborn,

by whose Blood they have been redeemed.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity

of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

 

icon_HolyApostlesREADING I

Reading 1 Acts 5:12-16

Many signs and wonders were done among the people

at the hands of the apostles.

They were all together in Solomon’s portico.

None of the others dared to join them, but the people esteemed them.

Yet more than ever, believers in the Lord,

great numbers of men and women, were added to them.

Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets

and laid them on cots and mats

so that when Peter came by,

at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them.

A large number of people from the towns

in the vicinity of Jerusalem also gathered,

bringing the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits,

and they were all cured.

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 699 The hand. Jesus heals the sick and blesses little children by laying hands on them.1 In his name the apostles will do the same.2 Even more pointedly, it is by the Apostles’ imposition of hands that the Holy Spirit is given.3 The Letter to the Hebrews lists the imposition of hands among the “fundamental elements” of its teaching.4 The Church has kept this sign of the all-powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its sacramental epicleses.

1 Cf. Mk 6:5; 8:23; 10:16.

2 Cf. Mk 16:18; Acts 5:12; 14:3.

3 Cf. Acts 8:17-19; 13:3; 19:6.

4 Cf. Heb 6:2.

APPLICATION

In a few plain and simple sentences, St. Luke, who wrote the Acts, gives us a bird’s eye view of the young Christian community in Jerusalem. Their firm belief was that the Christ, whom the leaders of the Jews had crucified unjustly, had been raised by the Father from the dead, and was now in glory at the Father’s right hand in heaven. “The breaking of bread” in common, the Holy Eucharist, the means Christ had planned and instituted before his death, of remaining with them on earth, was the other great bond of unity and strength which made them a compact community, distinct from their fellow Jews who refused to believe.

As yet they had no plans as to how the good news of God’s intervention in the eternal destiny of man was to be brought to the world. They humbly and patiently waited for inspiration from the Holy Spirit whose direction and assistance Christ had promised them (Acts 1: 4-7). This came in due time and the Apostles and their followers did their part nobly when called upon, as the later chapters of Acts show.

What must strike any reader of the story of the disciples relationship with Christ before and after his resurrection, is the infinite power of God’s grace on the minds of men. We must remember that Jesus of Nazareth lived, preached and died as a mere man in the eyes not only of his enemies but even of his chosen Apostles. That he had the power of miracles from God they knew. That he would use this power of miracles from God they knew. That he would use this power to prevent his enemies capturing and condemning him to death must have been their firm conviction up to Holy Thursday night. What they did not know or grasp, until the resurrection, was that he was the true Son of God, even though he had given many hints of it. His divinity was hidden so that as the one true man acting as representative of the human race he could carry out the divine plan, giving absolute obedience to the will of the Father, even though that led him to the death of the cross. By doing this he earned for all men, of all time, the title of adopted sons of God and heirs of heaven.

Once the Apostles grasped the fact of the resurrection they recognized, in the beloved Master whom they had followed for three years, the One he truly was. They recognized in him the God-man–the man who had drained the cup of human sufferings to its bitter end, and the hidden God who allowed his divinity to appear again only when he had completed the task his Father had given him to do. St. Peter on the day of Pentecost expressed this new faith of the Apostles briefly but effectively: “Let the whole house of Israel know that God (the Father) has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord (God) and Christ (the promised Messiah).” The resurrection, in other words, proved that Christ the Messiah was God as well as man.

The resurrection, for us too, is the solid foundation of our Christian faith. We are followers of Christ who was God and man. His life’s work on earth was on our behalf, to earn heaven for us. He has taught us how to get there. If we follow him we cannot go astray. He has guaranteed us all the necessary graces and helps that we need on the road, and we have but to accept them. His rising from the tomb was the key to open all human tombs and graves. We too shall rise like him with glorified bodies, free from all earthly ills, ready to enjoy an everlasting heaven, if we clutch that key to our hearts. It is the key of faith in Christ, of hope in his divine promise, and of love for the God who has so lovingly planned and prepared a home of eternal happiness for us.

 

RESPONSORIAL PSALM

Ps 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.

Let the house of Israel say,

His mercy endures forever.”

Let the house of Aaron say,

His mercy endures forever.”

Let those who fear the LORD say,

His mercy endures forever.”

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.

I was hard pressed and was falling,

but the LORD helped me.

My strength and my courage is the LORD,

and he has been my savior.

The joyful shout of victory

in the tents of the just:

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.

The stone which the builders rejected

has become the cornerstone.

By the LORD has this been done;

it is wonderful in our eyes.

This is the day the LORD has made;

let us be glad and rejoice in it.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.

 

 

icon+001-2READING II

Rev 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19

I, John, your brother, who share with you

the distress, the kingdom, and the endurance we have in Jesus,

found myself on the island called Patmos

because I proclaimed God’s word and gave testimony to Jesus.

I was caught up in spirit on the Lord’s day

and heard behind me a voice as loud as a trumpet, which said,

Write on a scroll what you see.”

Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me,

and when I turned, I saw seven gold lampstands

and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man,

wearing an ankle-length robe, with a gold sash around his chest.

When I caught sight of him, I fell down at his feet as though dead.

He touched me with his right hand and said, “Do not be afraid.

I am the first and the last, the one who lives.

Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever.

I hold the keys to death and the netherworld.

Write down, therefore, what you have seen,

and what is happening, and what will happen afterwards.”

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 612 The cup of the New Covenant, which Jesus anticipated when he offered himself at the Last Supper, is afterwards accepted by him from his Father’s hands in his agony in the garden at Gethsemani,1 making himself “obedient unto death”. Jesus prays: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. ..”2 Thus he expresses the horror that death represented for his human nature. Like ours, his human nature is destined for eternal life; but unlike ours, it is perfectly exempt from sin, the cause of death.3 Above all, his human nature has been assumed by the divine person of the “Author of life”, the “Living One”.4 By accepting in his human will that the Father’s will be done, he accepts his death as redemptive, for “he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.”5

CCC 625 Christ’s stay in the tomb constitutes the real link between his passible state before Easter and his glorious and risen state today. The same person of the “Living One” can say, “I died, and behold I am alive for evermore”:6

God [the Son] did not impede death from separating his soul from his body according to the necessary order of nature, but has reunited them to one another in the Resurrection, so that he himself might be, in his person, the meeting point for death and life, by arresting in himself the decomposition of nature produced by death and so becoming the source of reunion for the separated parts.7

CCC 633 Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, “hell” – Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek – because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God.8 Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the Redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into “Abraham’s bosom”:9 “It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior in Abraham’s bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell.”10 Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him.11

CCC 635 Christ went down into the depths of death so that “the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”12 Jesus, “the Author of life”, by dying destroyed “him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and [delivered] all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.”13 Henceforth the risen Christ holds “the keys of Death and Hades”, so that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”14

Today a great silence reigns on earth, a great silence and a great stillness. A great silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. .. He has gone to search for Adam, our first father, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow Adam in his bonds and Eve, captive with him – He who is both their God and the son of Eve. .. “I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. .. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead.”15

CCC 2854 When we ask to be delivered from the Evil One, we pray as well to be freed from all evils, present, past, and future, of which he is the author or instigator. In this final petition, the Church brings before the Father all the distress of the world. Along with deliverance from the evils that overwhelm humanity, she implores the precious gift of peace and the grace of perseverance in expectation of Christ’s return By praying in this way, she anticipates in humility of faith the gathering together of everyone and everything in him who has “the keys of Death and Hades,” who “is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”16

Deliver us, Lord, we beseech you, from every evil and grant us peace in our day, so that aided by your mercy we might be ever free from sin and protected from all anxiety, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.17

1 Cf. Mt 26:42; Lk 22:20.

2 Phil 2:8; Mt 26:39; cf. Heb 5:7-8.

3 Cf. Rom 5:12; Heb 4:15.

4 Cf. Acts 3:15; Rev 1:17; Jn 1:4; 5:26.

5 1 Pt 224; cf. Mt 26:42.

6 Rev 1:18.

7 St. Gregory of Nyssa, Orat. catech. 16: PG 45, 52D.

8 Cf. Phil 2:10; Acts 2:24; Rev 1:18; Eph 4:9; Pss 6:6; 88:11-13.

9 Cf. Ps 89:49; I Sam 28:19; Ezek 32:17-32; Lk 16:22-26.

10 Roman Catechism 1, 6, 3.

11 Cf. Council of Rome (745): DS 587; Benedict XII, Cum dudum (1341): DS 1011; Clement VI, Super quibusdam (1351): DS 1077; Council of Toledo IV (625): DS 485; Mt 27:52-53.

12 Jn 5:25; cf. Mt 12:40; Rom 10:7; Eph 4:9.

13 Heb 2:14-15; cf. Acts 3:15.

14 Rev 1:18; Phil 2:10.

15 Ancient Homily for Holy Saturday: PG 43, 440A, 452C; LH, Holy Saturday, OR.

16 Rev 1:8,18; cf. Rev 1:4; Eph 1:10.

17 Roman Missal, Embolism after the Lord’s Prayer, 126: Libera nos, quaesumus, Domine, ab omnibus malis, da propitius pacem in diebus nostris, ut, ope misericordiae tuae adiuti, et a peccato simus semper liberi, et ab omni perturbatione securi: expectantes beatam spem et adventum Salvatoris nostri Iesu Christi.

APPLICATION

These inspired words of John, read to us today, are intended to inspire us with still greater love and gratitude to the Risen Savior, who has earned for us a new life of glory and happiness beyond the grave, if we remain faithful to our Christian faith during the few short years of our earthly life.

The death and resurrection of Christ have taken the sting out of death for all true believers in Christ. As St. Paul says, referring to our resurrection: “When our mortal body puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the word that is written . . . O death where is your victory? O death where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15: 54). So no truly believing Christian should really worry about death or grieve for those who have gone. This does not mean that we must not care for our health, or that we can afford to be reckless and foolish in our mode of living. Each one of us has a certain number of years allotted to him in which he is to carry out God’s will on this earth. We are not doing God’s will if we shorten that term through our own fault. Not only is suicide sinful, so also is willful abuse of health, which shortens one’s life.

It is often said that death is the one and only future event in our lives of which we can be absolutely certain. But for the sincere Christian, that is for the one who is honestly, if fumblingly, trying to live each day in the love of God, there is a second certainty and it is : that death will open the door into the halls of heaven. Instead of being something to dread and fear it is the necessary prelude to our perfect joy and happiness.

If there really are people who have convinced themselves rationally that there is no such person as God, and no life after death, they must have every reason to fear death and to dread the very thought of it. They have to leave everything and everyone they know and love–and leave them forever. The grave is indeed the end for them, if their strange philosophy is true. For us Christians and for all others who believe in God and life after death, that is, for the vast majority of mankind, death is rather the beginning of our real existence. We know that it separates us from our loved ones but only for a short space of time. Even this is not a real separation, for we are still members of Christ’s body and can intercede for and help those loved ones we leave behind.

Christ has the keys of death and of the underworld–he has given those keys to us in the sacraments and all the other aids he has left us in his Church. If any Christian fails to rise glorified from his grave he must have foolishly thrown away the keys or refused to learn how to use them. Such Christians, thank God, are few and far between. I have no intention of increasing their number by being among them.

thomas_01GOSPEL

Jn 20:19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week,

when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,

for fear of the Jews,

Jesus came and stood in their midst

and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.

The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Jesus said to them again, “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,

and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,

was not with them when Jesus came.

So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”

But he said to them,

Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands

and put my finger into the nailmarks

and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside

and Thomas was with them.

Jesus came, although the doors were locked,

and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,

and bring your hand and put it into my side,

and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”

Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?

Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now 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.

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/040316.cfm

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 105 God is the author of Sacred Scripture. “The divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.”1

For Holy Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.”2

CCC 442 Such is not the case for Simon Peter when he confesses Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God”, for Jesus responds solemnly: “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”3 Similarly Paul will write, regarding his conversion on the road to Damascus, “When he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles. ..”4 “And in the synagogues immediately [Paul] proclaimed Jesus, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’”5 From the beginning this acknowledgment of Christ’s divine sonship will be the center of the apostolic faith, first professed by Peter as the Church’s foundation.6

CCC 448 Very often in the Gospels people address Jesus as “Lord”. This title testifies to the respect and trust of those who approach him for help and healing.7 At the prompting of the Holy Spirit, “Lord” expresses the recognition of the divine mystery of Jesus.8 In the encounter with the risen Jesus, this title becomes adoration: “My Lord and my God!” It thus takes on a connotation of love and affection that remains proper to the Christian tradition: “It is the Lord!”9

CCC 514 Many things about Jesus of interest to human curiosity do not figure in the Gospels. Almost nothing is said about his hidden life at Nazareth, and even a great part of his public life is not recounted.10 What is written in the Gospels was set down there “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.”11

CCC 575 Many of Jesus’ deeds and words constituted a “sign of contradiction”,12 but more so for the religious authorities in Jerusalem, whom the Gospel according to John often calls simply “the Jews”,13 than for the ordinary People of God.14 To be sure, Christ’s relations with the Pharisees were not exclusively polemical. Some Pharisees warn him of the danger he was courting;15 Jesus praises some of them, like the scribe of Mark 12:34, and dines several times at their homes.16 Jesus endorses some of the teachings imparted by this religious elite of God’s people: the resurrection of the dead,17 certain forms of piety (almsgiving, fasting and prayer),18 the custom of addressing God as Father, and the centrality of the commandment to love God and neighbor.19

CCC 643 Given all these testimonies, Christ’s Resurrection cannot be interpreted as something outside the physical order, and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as an historical fact. It is clear from the facts that the disciples’ faith was drastically put to the test by their master’s Passion and death on the cross, which he had foretold.20 The shock provoked by the Passion was so great that at least some of the disciples did not at once believe in the news of the Resurrection. Far from showing us a community seized by a mystical exaltation, the Gospels present us with disciples demoralized (“looking sad”21) and frightened. For they had not believed the holy women returning from the tomb and had regarded their words as an “idle tale”.22 When Jesus reveals himself to the Eleven on Easter evening, “he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.”23

CCC 644 Even when faced with the reality of the risen Jesus the disciples are still doubtful, so impossible did the thing seem: they thought they were seeing a ghost. “In their joy they were still disbelieving and still wondering.”24 Thomas will also experience the test of doubt and St. Matthew relates that during the risen Lord’s last appearance in Galilee “some doubted.”25 Therefore the hypothesis that the Resurrection was produced by the apostles’ faith (or credulity) will not hold up. On the contrary their faith in the Resurrection was born, under the action of divine grace, from their direct experience of the reality of the risen Jesus.

CCC 645 By means of touch and the sharing of a meal, the risen Jesus establishes direct contact with his disciples. He invites them in this way to recognize that he is not a ghost and above all to verify that the risen body in which he appears to them is the same body that had been tortured and crucified, for it still bears the traces of his Passion.26 Yet at the same time this authentic, real body possesses the new properties of a glorious body: not limited by space and time but able to be present how and when he wills; for Christ’s humanity can no longer be confined to earth, and belongs henceforth only to the Father’s divine realm.27 For this reason too the risen Jesus enjoys the sovereign freedom of appearing as he wishes: in the guise of a gardener or in other forms familiar to his disciples, precisely to awaken their faith.28

CCC 659 “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.”29 Christ’s body was glorified at the moment of his Resurrection, as proved by the new and supernatural properties it subsequently and permanently enjoys.30 But during the forty days when he eats and drinks familiarly with his disciples and teaches them about the kingdom, his glory remains veiled under the appearance of ordinary humanity.31 Jesus’ final apparition ends with the irreversible entry of his humanity into divine glory, symbolized by the cloud and by heaven, where he is seated from that time forward at God’s right hand.32 Only in a wholly exceptional and unique way would Jesus show himself to Paul “as to one untimely born”, in a last apparition that established him as an apostle.33

CCC 730 At last Jesus’ hour arrives:34 he commends his spirit into the Father’s hands35 at the very moment when by his death he conquers death, so that, “raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,”36 he might immediately give the Holy Spirit by “breathing” on his disciples.37 From this hour onward, the mission of Christ and the Spirit becomes the mission of the Church: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.”38

CCC 788 When his visible presence was taken from them, Jesus did not leave his disciples orphans. He promised to remain with them until the end of time; he sent them his Spirit.39 As a result communion with Jesus has become, in a way, more intense: “By communicating his Spirit, Christ mystically constitutes as his body those brothers of his who are called together from every nation.”40

CCC 858 Jesus is the Father’s Emissary. From the beginning of his ministry, he “called to him those whom he desired;. .. And he appointed twelve, whom also he named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to preach.”41 From then on, they would also be his “emissaries” (Greek apostoloi). In them, Christ continues his own mission: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.”42 The apostles’ ministry is the continuation of his mission; Jesus said to the Twelve: “he who receives you receives me.”43

CCC 976 The Apostle’s Creed associates faith in the forgiveness of sins not only with faith in the Holy Spirit, but also with faith in the Church and in the communion of saints. It was when he gave the Holy Spirit to his apostles that the risen Christ conferred on them his own divine power to forgive sins: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”44

(Part Two of the catechism will deal explicitly with the forgiveness of sins through Baptism, the sacrament of Penance, and the other sacraments, especially the Eucharist. Here it will suffice to suggest some basic facts briefly.)

CCC 1087 Thus the risen Christ, by giving the Holy Spirit to the apostles, entrusted to them his power of sanctifying:45 they became sacramental signs of Christ. By the power of the same Holy Spirit they entrusted this power to their successors. This “apostolic succession” structures the whole liturgical life of the Church and is itself sacramental, handed on by the sacrament of Holy Orders.

CCC 1120 The ordained ministry or ministerial priesthood is at the service of the baptismal priesthood.46 The ordained priesthood guarantees that it really is Christ who acts in the sacraments through the Holy Spirit for the Church. The saving mission entrusted by the Father to his incarnate Son was committed to the apostles and through them to their successors: they receive the Spirit of Jesus to act in his name and in his person.47 The ordained minister is the sacramental bond that ties the liturgical action to what the apostles said and did and, through them, to the words and actions of Christ, the source and foundation of the sacraments.

CCC 1287 This fullness of the Spirit was not to remain uniquely the Messiah’s, but was to be communicated to the whole messianic people.48 On several occasions Christ promised this outpouring of the Spirit,49 a promise which he fulfilled first on Easter Sunday and then more strikingly at Pentecost.50 Filled with the Holy Spirit the apostles began to proclaim “the mighty works of God,” and Peter declared this outpouring of the Spirit to be the sign of the messianic age.51 Those who believed in the apostolic preaching and were baptized received the gift of the Holy Spirit in their turn.52

CCC 1441 Only God forgives sins.53 Since he is the Son of God, Jesus says of himself, “The Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” and exercises this divine power: “Your sins are forgiven.”54 Further, by virtue of his divine authority he gives this power to men to exercise in his name.55

CCC 1461 Since Christ entrusted to his apostles the ministry of reconciliation,56 bishops who are their successors, and priests, the bishops’ collaborators, continue to exercise this ministry. Indeed bishops and priests, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, have the power to forgive all sins “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

CCC 1556 To fulfill their exalted mission, “the apostles were endowed by Christ with a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit coming upon them, and by the imposition of hands they passed on to their auxiliaries the gift of the Spirit, which is transmitted down to our day through episcopal consecration.”57

CCC 2839 With bold confidence, we began praying to our Father. In begging him that his name be hallowed, we were in fact asking him that we ourselves might be always made more holy. But though we are clothed with the baptismal garment, we do not cease to sin, to turn away from God. Now, in this new petition, we return to him like the prodigal son and, like the tax collector, recognize that we are sinners before him.58 Our petition begins with a “confession” of our wretchedness and his mercy. Our hope is firm because, in his Son, “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”59 We find the efficacious and undoubted sign of his forgiveness in the sacraments of his Church.60

1 DV 11.

2 DV 11; cf. Jn 20:31; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pt 1:19-21; 3:15-16.

3 Mt 16:16-17.

4 Gal 1:15-16.

5 Acts 9:20.

6 Cf. I Th 1:10; Jn 20:31; Mt 16:18.

7 Cf Mt 8:2; 14:30; 15:22; et al.

8 Cf. Lk 1:43; 2:11.

9 Jn 20:28,21:7.

10 Cf. Jn 20:30.

11 Jn 20:31.

12 Lk 2:34.

13 Cf. Jn 1:19; 2:18; 5:10; 7:13; 9:22; 18:12; 19:38; 20:19.

14 Jn 7:48-49.

15 Cf Lk 13:31.

16 Cf. Lk 7:36; 14:1.

17 Cf. Mt 22:23-34; Lk 20:39.

18 Cf. Mt 6:18.

19 Cf. Mk 12:28-34.

20 Cf. Lk 22:31-32.

21 1 Lk 24:17; cf. Jn 20:19.

22 Lk 24:11; cf. Mk 16:11, 13.

23 Mk 16:14.

24 Lk 24:38-41.

25 Cf Jn 20:24-27; Mt 28:17.

26 Cf. Lk 24:30,39-40, 41-43; Jn 20:20, 27; 21:9,13-15.

27 Cf. Mt 28:9, 16-17; Lk 24:15, 36; Jn 20:14, 17, 19, 26; 21:4.

28 Cf. Mk 16:12; Jn 20:14-16; 21:4, 7.

29 Mk 16:19.

30 Cf Lk 24:31; Jn 20:19, 26.

31 Cf. Acts 1:3; 10:41; Mk 16:12; Lk 24:15; Jn 20:14-15; 21:4.

32 Cf. Acts 1:9; 2:33; 7:56; Lk 9:34-35; 24:51; Ex 13:22; Mk 16:19; Ps 110:1.

33 1 Cor 15:8; cf. 9:1; Gal 1:16.

34 Cf. Jn 13:1; 17:1.

35 Cf. Lk 23:46; Jn 19:30.

36 Rom 6:4.

37 Cf. Jn 20:22.

38 Jn 20:21; cf. Mt 28:19; Lk 24:47-48; Acts 1:8.

39 Cf. Jn 14:18; 20:22; Mt 28:20; Acts 2:33.

40 LG 7.

41 Mk 3:13-14.

42 Jn 20:21; cf. 13:20; 17:18.

43 Mt 10:40; cf. Lk 10:16.

44 Jn 20:22-23.

45 Cf. Jn 20:21-23.

46 Cf. LG 10 # 2.

47 Cf. Jn 20:21-23; Lk 24:47; Mt 28:18-20.

48 Cf. Ezek 36:25-27; Joel 3:1-2.

49 Cf. Lk 12:12; Jn 3:5-8; 7:37-39; 16:7-15; Acts 1:8.

50 Cf. Jn 20:22; Acts 2:1-14.

51 Acts 2:11; Cf. 2:17-18.

52 Cf. Acts 2:38.

53 Cf. Mk 2:7.

54 Mk 2:5, 10; Lk 7:48.

55 Cf. Jn 20:21-23.

56 Cf. In 20:23; 2 Cor 5:18.

57 LG 21; cf. Acts 1:8; 24; Jn 20:22-23; 1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6-7.

58 Cf. Lk 15:11-32, 18:13.

59 Col 1:14; Eph 1:7.

60 Cf. Mt 26:28; Jn 20:23.

APPLICATION

It may surprise and amaze us that the Apostles were so reluctant to believe that Christ had risen from the dead, to live forever in glory with his Father in heaven. But we must remember that during their two or three years with him they saw nothing in him but a mere man, one with divine powers, but yet a man; certain prophets of the Old Covenant had some such powers also. Christ had “emptied himself of his divine nature, and he had foretold his resurrection many times. But that he could be really God, as well as man, was something they could not then grasp, and if he was a mere man death had to be the end.

Their slowness of faith had its value for the future Church and for all of us. If they had been expecting the resurrection, and anxiously looking forward to it, people could say that they imagined it, that they persuaded themselves it had happened. Indeed, there have been men proud of their acuteness of judgement, who have said that the story of the resurrection is a story of mass hallucination, although all the evidence proves the opposite. Their conviction that it could not happen, could not be removed from their minds except by impressive evidence that it had. Hallucination is born in a mind already expecting and hoping for the imagined fact.

We can thank the Apostles and especially Thomas, the last to give in, that our faith in the resurrection and divine glorification of Christ is that much the stronger. Our Christianity which would have ended before the first Easter week had passed, if Christ had not risen in glory, spread rapidly to the then known world and is still spreading, because its author was none other than Christ “our Lord and our God.” How prophetic were the words of Gamaliel at the meeting of the Sanhedrin which tried to prevent the Apostles from preaching the new Christian faith: “If this plan or work is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow it.” (Acts 5:38-39).

Applications written by Fr. Kevin O’Sullivan O.F.M. and used with permission of Franciscan Press.

BENEDICTUS

The Resurrection Appearance and Mission

Faith in the Risen One is faith in something that has really taken place… Faith stands on the firm basis of reality that has actually taken place; today too, in the words of Scripture, we can as it were touch the Lord’s glorified wounds and say, with Thomas, in gratitude and joy: My Lord and my God! (Jn 20: 28). One question, however, continually arises at this point. Not everyone saw the Risen Jesus. Why not? Why did he not go in triumph to the Pharisees and Pilate to show them that he was alive and to let them touch his scars? … The Risen One cannot be seen like a piece of wood or stone. He can only be seen by the person to whom he reveals himself. And he only reveals himself to the one whom he can entrust with a mission. He does not reveal himself to curiosity but to love; love is the indispensable organ if we are to see and apprehend him. This does not mean, however, that the person addressed by the Lord has to be a believer already. Paul was not, nor was Thomas, nor were the Eleven either, for they too were submerged in doubt and sorrow. The only victory they had in mind was the triumph of Jesus in the establishment of the messianic kingdom: the alternative was ruin. Resurrection such as they now encountered was not something they could imagine, nor was it what they were expecting. It was not a prior faith that created a Resurrection vision: rather it is the reality of the Risen One that creates faith where there was only disbelief or a cramped and grudging faith.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

CLOSING PRAYER

A Prayer for Divine Mercy

“O Greatly Merciful God, Infinite Goodness, today all mankind

calls out from the abyss of its misery to Your mercy – to Your

compassion, O God; and it is with its mighty voice of misery that

it cries out.

Gracious God, do not reject the prayer of this earth’s exiles! O

Lord, Goodness beyond our understanding,

Who are acquainted with our misery through and through, and know

that by our own power we cannot ascend to You, we implore You:

anticipate us with Your grace and keep on increasing Your mercy in

us, that we may faithfully do Your holy will all through our life

and at death’s hour.

Let the omnipotence of Your mercy shield us from the darts of our

salvation’s enemies, that we may with confidence, as Your

children, await Your final coming – that day known to You alone.

And we expect to obtain everything promised us by Jesus in spite

of all our wretchedness. For Jesus is our Hope:

Through His merciful Heart, as through an open gate, we pass

through to heaven (Diary 1570).”

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About Benedicamus Domino

Let Us Bless The Lord - A Benedictine oblate's weekly study of the Catholic Church's Sunday Sacred Liturgy. I hope that families and friends will benefit from this as a prayerful way to prepare and actively participate in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
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