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Divine Mercy Sunday

First Reading: Acts 5:12-16

Many signs and wonders were done among the people
at the hands of the apostles.
They were all together in Solomon’s portico.
None of the others dared to join them, but the people esteemed them.
Yet more than ever, believers in the Lord,
great numbers of men and women, were added to them.
Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets
and laid them on cots and mats
so that when Peter came by,
at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them.
A large number of people from the towns
in the vicinity of Jerusalem also gathered,
bringing the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits,
and they were all cured.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24

R. (1) Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
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.”
R. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
I was hard pressed and was falling,
but the LORD helped me.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
in the tents of the just:
R. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.

Second Reading: Revelation 1:9-11A, 12-13, 17-19

I, John, your brother, who share with you
the distress, the kingdom, and the endurance we have in Jesus,
found myself on the island called Patmos
because I proclaimed God’s word and gave testimony to Jesus.
I was caught up in spirit on the Lord’s day
and heard behind me a voice as loud as a trumpet, which said,
“Write on a scroll what you see.”
Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me,
and when I turned, I saw seven gold lampstands
and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man,
wearing an ankle-length robe, with a gold sash around his chest.

When I caught sight of him, I fell down at his feet as though dead.
He touched me with his right hand and said, “Do not be afraid.
I am the first and the last, the one who lives.
Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever.
I hold the keys to death and the netherworld.
Write down, therefore, what you have seen,
and what is happening, and what will happen afterwards.”

Gospel: John 20:19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

NAB

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These are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

There is a beautiful lyric from a song by Catholic singer/song writer Danielle Rose that asks the question, “Do I live a life of such love so as to be a reason to believe?” In Saint John’s Gospel, we hear that we have life through our belief in Jesus as Christ. Spend a moment with that truth. What does it mean for you? Has your life been transformed by your belief in Jesus, by His resurrection that we celebrate in this joyous Easter season?

The Apostles were completely changed after the Resurrection. In the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we hear how Saint Peter walked through the streets, curing the sick when even his shadow fell upon those needing healing. Wait a minute—Peter? The same person who just days earlier denied even knowing Jesus? Now he is healing people and serving as the leader of the Church? Yes. Peter’s life, Peter’s heart, was made completely new by the resurrection of Jesus and his belief in Him as the Christ. It should be the same for us.

If we are honest, we have all had moments like Peter’s denial or Thomas’s unbelief in our lives. We have temporarily abandoned our Lord, as all but one of Christ’s friends did in His most difficult moments at His crucifixion. Yet when Jesus sees the apostles again for the first time after the resurrection, He doesn’t say, Where were you? He says, Peace be with you. The first thing Jesus does when He sees them is an act of mercy—He sets things right. God’s mercy, the divine mercy that we celebrate this Sunday, is absolute. It is far better than any mercy you or I can give as humans. When we humbly ask, God pours out His mercy on us freely, and it endures forever. Forever, sisters! What a gift!

May Divine Mercy and our belief in Jesus the Christ transform our hearts and souls this Easter season, and always.

Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy today. Join me in praying that our lives may be completely transformed by our belief in Christ. Ask God to make your life a bold and beautiful witness to His divine mercy and unfailing love.

photo credit

Elise Howe is a devoted wife, new momma, and musician currently living in NYC, though she will always be a midwestern gal at heart. You can find out more about her here.

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