Divine Mercy Sunday Church at Home

Second Sunday of Easter or of Divine Mercy

Sunday Church at Home

during lockdown in the Coronavirus Pandemic

 

How to Testify that Christ is Risen.

 

 

The leader makes the sign of the cross, saying:

 

Leader: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

 

All reply: Amen

 

Leader: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

All reply: Blessed be God for ever

 

Leader: The compassion of God is beyond all telling. We gather in the hope of the resurrection and know that we share in the joy of the promise of an eternal inheritance offered to us through the Mass. Even though Easter Week is now behind us, today’s liturgy is still filled with the joyful effects of Jesus’ resurrection. We continue to celebrate that great event for the next six weeks, until Pentecost Sunday on 23 May, the fiftieth and final day of Easter.

 

LITURGY OF THE WORD

 

First Reading: Acts 4:32-35

 

Introduction to the reading: Luke wrote a two-volume work: Volume One was his Gospel; Volume Two was the Acts of the Apostles which describes the life of the Church after the Resurrection of Jesus. Every year, during the seven weeks of the Easter Season, the first reading is taken from the Acts of the Apostles. In today’s passage, Luke gives an idealized description of early Christian community life.

 

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles

The company of those who believed were of one heart and soul,
and no one said
that any of the things which he possessed was his own,
but they had everything in common.
And with great power the apostles gave their testimony
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great grace was upon them all.
There was not any one needy among them,
for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them,
and brought the proceeds of what was sold
and laid it at the apostles’ feet;
and distribution was made to each as any had need.

The word of the Lord.

 

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 118:2-4.15c-16b & 17-18.22-24 (R. 1)

Let us pray the Responsorial Psalm:

R/. Give praise to the Lord, for he is good;
his mercy endures forever.

Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say,
“His mercy endures forever.”

“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty deeds;
his right hand is exalted.
“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty deeds.
I shall not die, I shall live
and recount the deeds of the Lord.
The Lord punished me, punished me severely,
but did not hand me over to death.

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the Lord has this been done,
a marvel in our eyes.
This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice in it and be glad.

R/. Give praise to the Lord, for he is good;
his mercy endures forever.

 

Second Reading: 1 John 5:1-7

Introduction to the reading: Today and for the remaining Sundays of the Easter Season, our second reading will be taken from the first letter of John. It was written about 100 A.D., and is one of the last New Testament books to be composed. This letter was written in the tradition of the apostle John and thus bears his name. Today’s passage from near the end of this brief letter treats the fundamentals of Christian life: faith, love, and the commandments.

 

A reading from the first Letter of Saint John

Beloved:
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ
has been born of God,
and everyone who loves the parent
loves the one begotten by him.
By this we know that we love the children of God,
when we love God and obey his commandments. 

For this is the love of God,
that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome.
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world;
and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. 

Who is it that overcomes the world
but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ,
not with the water only but with the water and the blood.
And the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is the truth.

 

The word of the Lord.

 

Alleluia. Alleluia.
You believed, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord;
blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.
Alleluia.

 

Gospel: John 20:19-31

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week,
the doors being shut where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood among them and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them,
and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven;
if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” 

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” 

But he said to them,
“Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails
and place my finger in the mark of the nails,
and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 

Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house,
and Thomas was with them.
The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them,
and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas,
“Put your finger here, and see my hands;
and put out your hand and place it in my side;
do not be faithless but believing.” 

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 

Jesus said to him,
“You have believed because you have seen me.
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” 

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples,
which are not written in this book;
but these are written that you may believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that believing you may have life in his name.

The Gospel of the Lord

 

Reflection on the Readings 

The leader reads the text prepared by the priest and leads the sharing.

 

Homily

Today is the eighth day of the celebration of the heart of our Christian faith: the resurrection. 

If Jesus had been simply a great religious teacher who lives in our memories with fond affection and in images framed on our walls, we would not be here today. There would be no need to come to church on Sunday, pray, love our neighbour, or spend our time focusing on Christ. If that’s all Jesus is, just a dead person – it doesn’t matter how great he was – if he were just a dead person, we would be going about our lives on our own.

But the Risen Christ is alive in God and in us humans, and so what John tells us in our second reading is true: 

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God….” 

Christ is alive and in Christ we are born to a new life as children of God. In Christ’s resurrection we have assurance that neither pain nor death can separate us from God’s love. As God was with Christ, so God will be there for us in whatever deaths we experience. Beginning now, Christ also shares his resurrected life with us for all eternity. Because of the resurrected Christ we can have total trust in God’s love for us. 

We are born again as God’s children.

On Good Friday we saw kindness, compassion and love nailed to the cross. But today we celebrate that goodness being alive and living in and among us. Christ rose, so now we have undying love in our hearts and we can make full allegiance to Christ. What would that look like? If our lives are transformed in the resurrection and Christ lives in us, we can not ignore the inequalities in our world – its racism, sexism, homophobia, the selfish use of resources, violation of the innocent, etc.

All of Jesus’ disciples fled, or denied him, when he needed them the most. When he came to his disciples huddled behind locked doors his first words to them were words of forgiveness and reconciliation, “Peace be with you.” Forgiveness was not only offered to those disciples. It is also offered to each of us, behind whatever doors we have locked ourselves, spiritually, emotionally or physically. We are forgiven sinners and now free to live joyful lives. Through his Spirit we not only to look back to a memory of him, but experience him with us now, enabling us to do what he did: forgive others as we have been forgiven.

There are some people say the resurrection could not have possibly happened: that it was made up, or the result of the disciples’ heightened grief and disappointment which came when Jesus was executed and their dreams shattered. 

My response – I do not have to ‘prove’ the Resurrection using science or logic or anything like that.  I just look at the experiences of the disciples. Something real happened to them.  They recognized Jesus, saw his wounds and heard him speak to them. Our faith is based on their witness and how it transformed their lives. We believe Christ is risen, and we see how our faith “conquers the world.”

The first  reading from Acts of the Apostles paints an idealistic picture of the early Christian community. It is about a community of believers who care and make personal sacrifices for one another. 

The gospel gives another perspective on the early church. They were hiding in fear. It sounds a bit like us today – staying at home in fear of contracting the coronavirus. Lock the doors and lay low!

In those circumstances, Jesus’ first word to them is “peace.” His word of peace to his disciples is quickly followed by the gift of his breath, the Holy Spirit and then the command to forgive. Forgiveness is the first step in healing a wounded people and a wounded world. Thomas was the first who needed healing and forgiveness. Thomas did not believe the witnesses from his own community.  

Thomas had serious issues with the others, but at least he didn’t walk out. Thomas stays and the community continues to accept him. So, he is present when Jesus appears. Jesus addresses him urging him to believe. The church did not expel Thomas and in their company he experienced the risen Christ for himself. The story of doubting Thomas resonates with us today.  Often we are too quick to condemn the different thinkers among us and easily dismiss those whose lives aren’t like ours. 

There is something about staying together and not walking out. It was to a gathered community that the risen Christ came and it was with them that Thomas was forgiven and given peace. Thomas was willing to admit she was wrong and it was Jesus who made sure he was welcome. As a result we have the inspired and very memorable words Thomas uttered before the risen Christ. Words which inspire, form and express our faith as well: 

“My Lord and my God.”

From today’s Gospel reading:

Jesus said to Thomas:

“Have you come to believe because you have seen me?

Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Reflection:

Most of us Catholics were baptized as infants and our faith is initially based on the words and example of others. Like Thomas we are asked to put our faith in other believers who have been our guides. Also, like Thomas, each of us comes to our own personal experience of Jesus’ resurrection.

So we ask ourselves: 

  • When have I had the most doubts about the living presence of Christ?
  • Where and how do I expect to meet the risen Lord in this life?

 

Prayer of the Faithful 

 

Leader: Compassionate Father, on this Sunday when we celebrate the mercy of God, be merciful to us as we pray for our needs and the needs of the world.

 

Reader:

We pray for Pope Francis and the bishops of the Church: (pause)
that they may shepherd the Church with love and the witness of service to others. 

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for the grace of reconciliation: (pause)
that God will help us to turn from selfishness, forgive those who have injured us and be instruments of reconciliation in our society.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for all who are questioning their faith or God’s presence in their lives: (pause)
that the Spirit will guide them to new insights and help them recognize God’s presence through the witness of Christian’s love and service.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for successful administration of the Coronavirus vaccine: (pause) 

that God will guide the distribution and administration of the vaccine and protect all the human family from the virus.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for deceased members of our families and friends whose anniversaries occur about this time. 

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray Fernando Pissarra who died during the week.  

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.

 

And let perpetual light shine on him.  

May he rest in peace.  Amen

 

Leader: Let us pray a prayer of entrustment of the world to Divine Mercy:

 

God, merciful Father,
in Your Son, Jesus Christ,
You have revealed Your love
and poured it out upon us in the Holy Spirit,
the Comforter.
We entrust to You today the destiny of the world
and of every man and woman.
Bend down to us sinners, heal our weakness,
conquer all evil, and grant that all the peoples
of the earth may experience Your mercy.
In You, the Triune God,
may they ever find the source of hope.
Eternal Father, by the Passion and Resurrection
of Your Son, have mercy on us and upon the world.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

 

Spiritual Communion

We can unite ourselves to the Eucharist through making a spiritual Communion.

By making an Act of Spiritual Communion, we express our faith in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and ask him to unite himself with us. 

 

My Jesus, I believe you are really here in the Blessed Sacrament.
I love you more than anything in the world, and I hunger to receive you.
But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment, feed my soul spiritually. I unite myself to you now as I do when I receive you. Amen.

 

CONCLUDING RITE

 

Leader: Let us pray to the Father in the words Jesus our Saviour gave us: 

 

All say: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Amen.

 

Leader: God of life,
source of all faith,
through the waters of baptism
you have raised us up in Jesus
and given us life that endures.
Day by day refine our faith,
that we who have not seen the Christ
may truly confess him as our Lord and God
and share the blessedness of those who believe.

Grant this through Jesus Christ, the resurrection and the life,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.

All: Amen.

 

Easter Blessing

 

Leader: Through the resurrection of Jesus
God has redeemed us and made us his children.
May God bless us with joy. 

 

All: Amen.

Leader: Our Redeemer has given us lasting freedom.
May we inherit everlasting life. 

All: Amen. 

Leader: By faith, we rose with Jesus in baptism.
May our lives be holy,
so that we will be united with Jesus for ever.

All: Amen. 

Leader: May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.

 

All: Amen.