Daily Reflections  –  2nd Week of Easter

Monday 12th April

Introduction

In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we come across the awesome power of the Apostles who are working through the power of the risen Jesus. Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit, enables the Apostles to preach the Gospel with courage, despite all the threats made against them.

Then in Gospel we hear Jesus explain to us how we need to be born again from above. Meaning we need to be born again through water and the Holy Spirit, ie through Baptism. It is this way in which we are enabled to enter the Kingdom of God.

May we too be conscious of our Baptismal faith and proclaim our faith with courage for the whole world to hear.

Reflection

Today the disciples are suffering threats and abuse for their outspokenness. Preaching the resurrection of Jesus is a direct threat to the power and authority of the Jewish elders, but since a miracle of healing has been performed the elders feel powerless to force the issue. For their part, the disciples are filled with the joy of Christ’s rising, and are compelled to speak out. But now that joy is confronted by threats. How will they respond? Courage or weakness?

Peter knows his own weakness from the time he denied even knowing the Lord. Now, with his friends he prays for “courage”. The Greek word is Parrhesia meaning open and fearless speech. They would need that gift of God. Nicodemus came to Jesus under cover of darkness, lest his fellow Jewish elders condemned him; but his little courage would grow.

The world needs open and fearless speech. Are we prepared to speak out for Jesus in our world today?


11th April – 2nd Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Introduction

On this the 2nd Sunday of Easter we continue our Easter celebration as we try to understand what the resurrection of Jesus really means for us.

Today we focus on Divine Mercy. The readings reveal to us that God‘s will is to be merciful, to bring peace into our lives. God’s love, grace and mercy is always waiting for us, to hold us, support us and strengthen us.

And just as we call upon God’s mercy in our own lives, so too we are called to share God’s mercy with each other.

For the times, we have been less than merciful, we ask for God’s forgiveness to try again.

Sermon

From the prayers and readings today it is easy to see why the Second Sunday of Easter is called Divine Mercy Sunday. The opening prayer addresses the Father as “God of Mercy.”

But what does the word “mercy” mean? 

To understanding the meaning of mercy, it will help to know where the word comes from. Our English word, mercy, comes from the Latin: ‘misericordia’, which is composed of two words. “Cordia” is familiar to us from such words as “cardiologist” and “cardiac.” It means heart. The first part, “miseri” refers to suffering.

Mercy, means to have a heart for those who suffer or, more precisely, to have a heart willing to suffer for others.

Sadly over recent years we have witnessed the absolute opposite of mercy, with the countless acts of terrorism that have taken place throughout the world for all sorts of reasons. But whatever the so called ‘reason’, any terrorist act is actually the opposite of God  –  it is evil and hatred in action. Terrorists of any kind are people who prefer to inflict suffering upon others, rather than suffer for the sake of others  –  that is pure evil, the opposite of God and the opposite of what God wants.

When Jesus first appeared to his disciples that first Easter, he said, “Peace be with you.” As you can imagine, that greeting meant more than “hello” or “good morning.” If we remember, the last time Jesus saw his disciples they had all run away, they had deserted him. One had betrayed him and the leader had denied he even knew Jesus. But here is Jesus today saying, “Peace be with you.”

There is no anger, no recriminations, no resentment… just a message of peace and acceptance, “Peace be with you.”  In saying this Jesus is giving them something of enormous value. The peace which Jesus won for us and gives to us, had cost him his very life.

When we read the Acts of the Apostles, it calls our attention to the corporal works of mercy:
feed the hungry
clothe the naked,
shelter the homeless.

We also have the spiritual works of mercy:
convert the sinner
counsel the doubtful
bear wrongs patiently.

By doing these things we fulfill the Christ’s commandments and help to extend his victory  –  to share his mercy with the whole world.

Yes God is merciful, but God is also a God of justice  –  God will see that justice is done. It is important to remember that those who show no mercy, will have no mercy shown them.

During this time of Easter, we ask God to open our hearts and our minds, so that we too might receive His mercy in our lives. May we bring the mercy of God with us by the way we live our lives, and especially in the way we show mercy to each other. May we by our lives, be able to say with Jesus, ‘Peace be with you.’