April 27, 2014 – Second Sunday of Easter/Sunday of Divine Mercy
“Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” With those words of comfort, Jesus reaches out to us across the chasm of time. This is not only the Second Sunday of Easter, but also Divine Mercy Sunday. Divine Mercy Sunday is a relatively recent development within the Church, having been established by Pope John Paul II the year 2000. Today is also a monumental day in the history of our Church as Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII will be canonized and become St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII, respectively.
The readings for this Sunday are replete with forgiveness and love. In the first reading from Acts we hear about the earliest days of the Church, how the Apostles and other followers of Jesus banded together to support and to help one another. In the second reading, the beginning of Peter’s first letter to those followers throughout what is now Turkey, St. Peter speaks of the mercy of the Lord to us through salvation. However, he cautions us that following Jesus is not and will not be trouble-free.
The Gospel from John relates also the beginnings of the Church. By bestowing the Holy Spirit upon His followers (“He breathed on them and said ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’”), Jesus made them the first stewards of the Church. We, too, are stewards of the Church. In their Pastoral Letter on Stewardship (Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response) our U.S. Bishops declared, “We are all stewards of the Church.” With Easter so fresh to us, now is the time to accept that responsibility.