April 19, 2020: Divine Mercy Sunday, Second Sunday of Easter
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
Working for peace can never be separated from announcing the Gospel, which is in fact the “good news of peace” (Acts 10:36; cf. Eph 6:15) addressed to all men and women. At the centre of “the gospel of peace” (Eph 6:15) remains the mystery of the cross, because peace is born of Christ’s sacrifice (cf. Is 53:5) — “Upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we were healed”. The crucified Jesus has overcome divisions, re-establishing peace and reconciliation, precisely through the cross, “thereby bringing the hostility to an end” (Eph 2:16) and bringing the salvation of the Resurrection to mankind. (493) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Acts 2:42-47
Psalm: 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
Second Reading: 1st Peter 1:3-9
Gospel: John 20:19-31 (Cycles A, B and C)
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The disciple of Christ must not only keep the faith and live on it, but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it, and spread it: “All however must be prepared to confess Christ before men and to follow him along the way of the Cross, amidst the persecutions which the Church never lacks.” Service of and witness to the faith are necessary for salvation: “So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (1816) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to Divine Mercy Sunday, Second Sunday of Easter, Cycle A
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
John 20:19, 21 and 26
The promise of peace that runs through the entire Old Testament finds its fulfillment in the very person of Jesus. Peace, in fact, is the messianic attribute par excellence, in which all other beneficial effects of salvation are included. The Hebrew word “shalom” expresses this fullness of meaning in its etymological sense of “completeness” (cf. Is 9:5ff; Mic 5:1-4). The kingdom of the Messiah is precisely the kingdom of peace (cf. Job 25:2; Ps 29:11; 37:11; 72:3,7; 85:9,11; 119:165; 125:5, 128:6; 147:14; Song 8:10; Is 26:3,12; 32:17f.; 52:7; 54:10; 57:19; 60:17; 66:12; Hag 2:9; Zech 9:10; et al.). Jesus “is our peace” (Eph 2:14). He has broken down the dividing wall of hostility among people, reconciling them with God (cf. Eph 2:14-16). This is the very effective simplicity with which Saint Paul indicates the radical motivation spurring Christians to undertake a life and a mission of peace.
On the eve of his death, Jesus speaks of his loving relation with the Father and the unifying power that this love bestows upon his disciples. It is a farewell discourse which reveals the profound meaning of his life and can be considered a summary of all his teaching. The gift of peace is the seal on his spiritual testament: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (Jn 14:27). The words of the Risen Lord will not be any different; every time that he meets his disciples they receive from him the greeting and gift of peace: “Peace be with you” (Lk 24:36; Jn 20:19,21,26). (491)
How did the early Church look so different from the Church of today? Everyday the Lord added to their numbers, but today, many places around the globe dwindling affiliation, especially among the younger population is the reality. Is the Church veiled today in hypocrisy? Afraid to come together where all people enjoy the favor of the Lord. Prioritizing exclusions over welcoming to break bread together at the Eucharistic feast, as the source of spiritual nourishment and substance for the journey of life. Teaching, wonders and signs thru apostles were manifest through a communal life of worship and prayer imparting awe on everyone. All who believed were together, not segregated by age, gender or spiritual camps existing as bastions hanging on to one spiritual thread and diminishing the rich depository of faith. For the early Church, assets did not attempt to frame ideological thought and teaching in a skewed paradigm, but all who believed were together and held all things in common, in a spiritual and physical essence. So the spiritual and physical needs of all were addressed according to each one’s needs. A spiritual camaraderie living and presenting faith to the world as a continuation of Jesus’ message. Not a power play establishing apostolic empires, but amplifying the generosity of God. What a message that would portray the Church as to the world today. For through how we live and proclaim faith, we have a spiritual inheritance, greater than any physical entity or perceived treasure, that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept and safeguarded in heaven for us. Among the trials of life, we can still rejoice to this genuineness of faith, since we love and believe in our Savior Jesus Christ. For the only places Jesus doesn’t enter is closed minds and hearts predicated on attachment to sin. Places lacking freedom from not letting Jesus enter and define their primary identity as a child of God, Jesus’ sister or brother. As Church today, we must let Jesus enter our doors, stand in our midst without fabricating boundaries of myopic proportions. Then the whole Church, all people of God, will not be limited from hearing Jesus proclaim, “Peace be with you”, without qualifications fashioned by human mindsets. And the Church today needs to hear Jesus’ words, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you”, with the accompanying breadth of the Holy Spirit. We must not let doubt, like Thomas, define our perception of faith, but prioritize Jesus’ initial words when greeting disciples after the Resurrection, “Peace be with you.” For we are blessed to believe with the gift of faith and not needing to see the nail pierced hands of our Lord. We have life and may our Church have the fullness of life in His name as we give thanks to the Lord by confessing our faith not just within the silence of our heart, but by the realities our lives. The tenderness, compassion, mercy, generosity the Divine models for us. For He is good, His love endures forever and is wonderful viewed in our spiritual eyes. For this day and everyday, the Lord has made and may we have the faith to be glad and rejoice in it.
Individual Reflection: Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
How are you living this Easter season to embrace each day, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it” ?
Family Reflection: John 20:19-31
April 25th is the feast of St Mark, a co-worker of Peter. Mark is the first recorded Gospel. As a family, read the Gospel together and discuss how his presentation of the message of Jesus is manifest in your faith journey today.
Prayer: Reflect on the song Many and One, as a theme we need to embrace in the Church today
Blogs to Visit:
As we reflect upon Mary’s presence in the mysteries of the Rosary, we are blessed to know her. For her journey, a timeless trek, calls us to surrender, continuing conversion, humbleness and justice now.
Weekly lectionary reflections, for faith sharing groups, parish bulletins, newsletters or personal prayer, from the synergy of the Word we hear and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching offers seven principles for upholding life in our thoughts, decisions and actions.
How we do Catholic Social Teaching.
Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
Social Ministry Resources Engaging Parishes: Monthly and liturgical seasons resources for use with parish websites, bulletins and newsletters
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born April 13, 2020 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.