Scripture Reflection, April 24, 2022, Second Sunday of Easter
Acts 5:12-16 Revelation 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19 John 20:19-31
Since the year 2000, this Second Sunday of Easter has been designated by the Church as Divine Mercy Sunday. Our readings today give witness to the power, the love and the mercy of God.
The weeks and months immediately following the Resurrection of the Lord were a time of great enthusiasm for the person and the message of Jesus Christ, among those who believed he was indeed the Son of God. Look no further than the first line of today’s first scripture (from the Acts of the Apostles) where we read: “Many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles”.
Jesus had given power to the apostles to heal people who came to them with sickness of body or mind and requested help. Yet Jesus, never one to brag or gloat about the miracles performed in his name, seems to have a lesson of even greater importance to share with both the early Christians and with each of us. He knows that his message of love and mercy will encounter many obstacles in the years to come, so he cautions the disciples: “Do not be afraid”. And he bestows upon them the gift of peace, repeating three times (surely a sign of emphasis) in today’s Gospel: “Peace be with you”.
Imagine what it must have felt like to be one of the apostles in the room where Jesus appeared and said: “Peace be with you”. Imagine receiving the gifts of divine love and mercy directly from Jesus in those four beautiful words: “Peace be with you.” Following that, he sends them out into the world to preach and teach and heal and forgive.
Jesus was with his disciples then, and he is with us (his disciples) now - giving us the blessing of his divine peace. It is ours for the taking. We need only give our cares and concerns to him in faithful prayer. This is the message of Divine Mercy Sunday: Let the love and the peace of the Lord dwell in your heart today, and God’s Holy Spirit will guide and sustain you. Jesus has given each of us this very personal, very powerful blessing: “Peace be with you”. This is God’s Divine Mercy in all it’s glory. It is God’s gift to each and every one of us. Are we ready to accept it - and to allow it to heal us?
by Bill Miller