Divine Mercy Sunday (2nd Sunday of Easter, year C)

Easter is a time to probe and heal wounds

Readings: Acts 5, 12-16; Ps 118, 2-4.22-24.25-27; Rev 1, 9-11a.12-13.17-19; Jn 20,19-31

The word of God for us on the second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday) invites us to encounter the Risen Lord in our communities. A community that is animated by the word of God is proof that Christ is alive. The pierced heart of the risen Lord is the font of divine mercy. The invitation has been spoken out: “Come and be embraced by the unfathomable mercy of God and experience healing!”

Whereas the wounds of the Covid-19 pandemic seem to be healing (or are only the restrictions lifted?), we continue to experience deep seated wounds that are in need of healing. These wounds ought to be brought into the light of the resurrection if we are to experience radical healing. The first reading presents to us Peter has been transformed (healed) . He followed Jesus from town to town and saw how healing flowed from Him. During His arrest, Peter denied any knowledge and association with Him (in fact, they all deserted him). But the Risen Lord has not given up on him. He has been healed and made an instrument of healing. Crowds followed him, hoping that his shadow would fall on them with a blessing. The fact is, carrying the Spirit of the Risen Lord burning in their hearts, the apostles performed signs and wonders in the power of the Holy Spirit.  We are a community commissioned to carry the Spirit of God in our own being. We are to carry the light of Christ to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

The journey of Lent that prepared us for Easter did not only expose the wound but also the remedy. It started with the recognition of our vulnerability through the sprinkling of the ashes. It led us to another recognition that Jesus descended into the wounded and wounding humanity. On the Cross the Savior exposed the human problem, that is, humans wound each other. When he was pierced with a lance, he laid bare the sentiments of his heart. Contemplating his opened heart allows us to be in touch with what fills our hearts. Are they feelings of revenge and retaliation? The Master calls us to make the challenging journey of forgiveness. “Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing.” (Lk 23, 34). The enemies of Jesus (in fact those meant to be his friends since he had come to bring them the love and mercy of the Father) exposed their need for healing. In the Gospel, the risen Lord breathes on his disciples who still bore the wound of Good Friday where their hopes were pierced on the cross and gives them His Holy Spirit with the mandate to forgive sins. When we are forgiven, our wounds are healed and we have peace.

Easter is a time to contemplate the healing that the loving mercy of God is capable of. After His resurrection, Jesus looked for his scattered friends and showed them the wounds of the nails and his pierced side. Amazingly they are healed wounds. This is what he wants to bring into our time. Only wounds that are addressed can be dressed for healing. The light and truth of the Risen Lord will show us what mistakes have been made and have to be corrected. It may be true that different groups of people still look at each other as enemies. Alice Camille (God’s Word is Alive 2007) once made reference to the grace that comes to us from and through the “enemy” when she said: “It is an unsettling thought, but many of the saints swore by their enemies as their best teachers.” If people are looking for a real Easter challenge, let them try to hear what God might be saying through the “enemy”. Let us allow the Lord to descend with us into the hell of our wounds in order to rise up with Him. It is Easter. It is a time for healing! The ocean of Gods mercy wishes to bathe and heal us. Like Thomas, let us put our finger into the healed wound of Jesus and experience healing for our oozing wounds caused by corruption, injustice, domestic violence, tribalistic tendencies, sexual abuse and all sorts of immorality. The one who holds the key to eternal life is in our midst to dispel the shadows of our past (failures, disappointments, hurts), to strengthen our faith amidst the shadows of our present (doubts, unanswerable questions, suffering, high cost of living etc.) and to give us a perspective for our future that often lies in the shadow of fear and uncertainty. Let us receive mercy and in return be channels of mercy for others!