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Apr 22, 2017 Written by  Fr. Paulino Twesigye Mondo

2nd Sunday of Easter Year A/Divine Mercy Sunday Be the first to comment!

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Theme: The Cross is our joy

During the liturgical season of Lent now past, the Church called its members to tend to the reality of sin in their lives and to renew themselves in the daily process of conversion to Christ. During the Holy Triduum, we have all been invited to join our struggles and sufferings to the passion and death of Jesus and to find therein the forgiveness and healing he promised. Now that Lent and its emphasis on the Cross has yielded to the blessed new life and hope of Easter, we are challenged to make manifest the fruit of our Lenten efforts. If indeed, we have been converted to the good news, if we have truly ‘turned over a new page’, then it is time to let our life show the difference. The Church puts before us readings from the Holy Bible which help us to understand the implication of Jesus’ resurrection and the challenge of living an Easter faith.

First reading: Acts 2:42-47

In 1978, the Amecea bishops meeting in Nairobi were determined to renew the life and ministry of the Church in Eastern Africa. In their efforts at transformation they inaugurated the formation of Small Christian communities a conducive environment for Christians that can provoke deeper sharing on the Word of God and think practically how to generate from within basic needs of its members so as to live a wholistic Christian life. In order to meet these basic needs, the Bishops insisted that the community must be the first and fundamental ecclesiastical nucleus, which on its own level must make itself responsible for the richness and expansion of the faith, as well as of the life style which is its expression. This Small Christian Community had to become the initial cell of the ecclesiastical structures and the focus of evangelization, serving concurrently as the most important source of human progress and development. Today many bishops who have insisted on this methodology of evangelization have been able to witness the emergence and multiplication of strong Catholic Communities that have taken the Church to greater levels. It is the Small Christian Communities since the time of the Apostles that have been the hope of the Church.

Far from being a new concept of communal life, this reading makes it clear that the Small Christian Community was the ideal which inspired the early Church. Through the centuries the Church has attempted to reclaim and authenticate this ideal through a variety of movements, such as, Christian Family Movement, Youth, New Catechumenal Way, Catholic Action, Charismatic, Divine Mercy, Legion of Mary, Sacred Heart of Jesus, Catholic Women/Guild, Focolare and many others. Today’s first reading reminds us of the principles and values which must inform any viable Christian movement and/or community: 1- apostolic instruction; after our initial evangelization and acceptance of the good news, as baptized believers we should receive ongoing formation/catechesis concerning Jesus’ words and works so as to absorb and practice  the demands of discipleship. 2- mutual sharing of time, talent and treasure; by virtue of our baptism into Christ, as believers we assume a responsibility for one another as brothers and sisters in the Lord. 3- the breaking of the bread;  as source and summit of our existence, the Eucharist is the outstanding means whereby we can express in our lives and manifest to others the mystery of Christ and the true nature of the Church. 4- prayer; without the continual contact with God and daily responses to his initiatives, our commitment, whether personal or communal is not possible. On this Second Sunday of Easter which is also dedicated to Jesus of Divine Mercy, we have an opportunity to refresh within us the ideals of how to be truly Christian and the manner in which we can actualize the reality of the resurrection in our daily lives, namely; deepening our faith, sharing, receiving sacraments and prayer.

Second reading: 1Peter 1:3-9

As early as 130 A.D teachers and preachers of the Church, namely Clement of Rome, Irenaeus, Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, were quoting from 1Peter in an effort to encourage their respective communities to remain faithful despite the increasingly hostile environment in which they lived. When 1Peter was written, it was originally intended for Christians in Asia Minor who were being harassed and ostracized by their pagan neighbors because of their Christian belief and the rather challenging life-style. Drawing together the most significant moments of salvation history as recorded in the Scriptures namely; the exodus, wilderness trek and the Promised Land, 1Peter endeavored to help mainly gentile audience to apply these moments to their own experience of turning to Jesus.

For example, the exodus from slavery, through the Red Sea to freedom could be compared to the watery passage of Christian baptism; the time in the desert could be likened to the struggles of living a truly committed life; and the promised land could regarded as a type of the eschatological/heavenly glory to come. Because it contains so great a wealth of Christian principles, distilled into such a short and readable presentation, the letter of 1 Peter is guide to assist us face courageously our life challenges even today. We need to keep in mind that our conversion to Christ is a change so radical that it can only be thought of as the birth of an entirely new person. Expanding on the idea of rebirth, St. Peter underscored the fact that Christians are not self-made men or women but are, rather, reborn to a new life and a new hope through the merciful will of God. cf. 1Peter 1:3

When begotten by God, as Christians we thereby receive an extraordinary inheritance. Mention must be made of the special Greek vocabulary used by St. Peter to make his point. Inheritance=kleronomia is a word used in the Septuagint to refer to the Promised Land which God gave to his people as a secure possession. But the inheritance of those who have turned to Christ is even greater than the Promised Land. Indeed the inheritance of the Christian is imperishable and incapable of fading or defilement. Imperishable=aphthartos means unravaged by any invading army; whereas the Promised Land suffered many foreign invasions, the Christian’s inheritance can never be pillaged or destroyed. Defilement= amiantos means to pollute/make impure. The Promised Land had been polluted by the worship of false gods as well as by idols thrust upon the Jews by foreign invaders; but the Christian is promised an inheritance which nothing can render impure. Fading=amarantos referred to the inevitable decay of even the most lovely flower. But the Christian has been gifted with an inheritance which will never diminish or decay.

What precisely is this inheritance which the reborn Christian possesses? The inheritance of the believer is God himself. This is the cause of his/her rejoicing despite the fact that this present existence is fraught with distress and trials. God, who begets, also guards his heirs. The term for guard/phrourein is a military term which implies that God stands watch as a sentinel over all our days and nights. His presence does not immunize the believer from harm but provides the power and strength needed to endure until gifted with the salvation to be revealed in the last days. Soteria/salvation is derived from the verb sozein which means both to save and to heal. Salvation is a many sided thing; in it there is deliverance from danger, from disease, as well as from condemnation and sin. Fortified by our hope in this deliverance, we can remain loving and faithful to Jesus even without seeing him, celebrating his presence in word and bread and sacrament until the last days.

Gospel: John 20:19-31

Last week, the beloved disciple served as our guide in probing into the mystery of the resurrection. In this gospel, Thomas and his experiences of Jesus direct our understanding of this central event of our faith. Whereas in the synoptic gospels, Thomas was mentioned only as a name in lists of the apostles, in the fourth gospel he is featured as a figure of misunderstanding and doubt cf. John 11:16 and John 14:5. The theological and christological climax of this text is reached when Thomas exclaims, “My Lord and My God” John 20:28. Consonant with and expressive of the high christology of the fourth gospel, Thomas’ words bring together for the first time the persons of Yeshua, or Jesus, the revealed name of the Savior  in Luke 1:31 and Yahweh, the revealed name for God as seen in Exodus 3:14. Thomas’ confession of our Savior to be Yeshua-Yahweh, Jesus-God further explains that Thomas was not making a metaphysical statement but a confession of faith that in Jesus he has encountered the eschatological presence of God at work.

Through Thomas’ movement from unbelief to belief, the Apostle John has also made the apologetic assertions that: 1- Jesus’ risen body was not an illusion nor were his resurrection appearances the creation of the apostles; the risen Christ, with wounds still in evidence but capable of gaining entrance into a locked room, was the same person as the crucified Jesus.

2- Faith does not depend on physical evidence. Thomas did not actually touch Jesus, nor have generations of believers since Jesus’ return to the Father ever seen him. The mechanism with which the episode concludes, ‘Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed’ indicates that Easter faith in Jesus will depend on the signs he performed, the word which continues to reveal him, and on his abiding presence with his own in the Spirit. 3- The Risen Lord is a Prince of peace that is why he can impart peace of the fearful followers that were still in unknown place. He will eventually give them the authority to confirm the followers. 4- Jesus gives authority to his` Apostles to forgive sins Even if he knows their perplexities.

Assured of his continuing peace and presence with the Church, we who believe continue to be sent forth by Jesus to continue his ministry of forgiveness. The paradigm for this commissioning in John, however, is the Father’s sending of Jesus with all that implies by way of purpose, such as to bring life, light, truth. As the Father was present in the Son during his mission, whoever sees Jesus sees the one who sent him. Today the disciples in their mission manifest the presence of Jesus to the point that whoever sees them sees Jesus who sent them. This is the privilege and challenge of being Easter people.

Application

In the first reading Peter declares, “God has made both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus who was crucified” Acts 2:36, his hearers were cut to the heart and asked him: “What are we to do?” Acts 2:37. Peter called them to repentance and baptism, “they accepted his word” Acts 2: 41 and from then on, their lives were different. Today we are as well invited to repent, to live a life characterized by communion, centered on prayer, the apostolic teaching and the Eucharist. Then as long as we are citizens of this imperfect world, there shall be conflict and suffering for those who take their commitment seriously because there is no meaningful resurrection without the understanding of the Cross. Today Jesus confirms to us that the fruits of his dying and rising are peace, abiding presence in the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sins. Today’s liturgy requires from us a change that must begin from within, with a new heart, mind and will. Only then will our new outfits be an authentic witness of Christ as we resolve to live our Easter faith. All in all, it is impossible to touch Jesus without touching the Cross, let each carry the Cross and follow Jesus.

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Luganda: 7:30 am.  English: 9:00 am, 11:00 am and 5;00 pm.

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About Our Church

Welcome to Our Lady of Africa Parish Mbuya. We are located near Bugolobi Township in Nakawa Division. It is about 5 kms from the City Centre of Kampala. Mbuya Catholic Parish is a vibrant and diverse community made up of people from different parts of Uganda. We welcome you warmly and joyfully.

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