Homily for 2nd Sunday of Easter Year A ( Divine Mercy Sunday)
Theme: Faith Enlarges the Possibilities of Life:
By: Fr. Luke Ijezie
Homily for Sunday April 19 2020
Acts 2:42-47; Ps 117; 1Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31.
Many people are today struggling to live. Some feel the possibilities of life are highly diminished as the world now seems to navigate in the region of death. But we derive great hope from today’s readings and the special celebration of Divine Mercy. The common message is that faith enlarges the possibilities of life, as it opens us to a wider sphere of existence and communion even here and now.
The first reading gives this inspiring information about the early Christian community: “The faithful all lived together and owned everything in common; they sold their goods and possessions and shared out the proceeds among themselves according to what each one needed” (Acts 2:44-45). It was a community in which no one was left in abject poverty or misery because they held all things in common, that is, there was a high sense of community spirit among them. This is what a Christian community should be. They were able to achieve this because they lived the Christian faith to the full. They unified the various aspects of the Christian life without neglecting any: faithfulness to the teaching of the Apostles, fellowship (koinonia – communion), breaking of bread, and the prayers. It was a community that prayed together and stayed together. In that togetherness, works of mercy abounded, joy was multiplied and new opportunities of living were opened up. Those who thought they would die without care had all the care they needed. Nobody suffered anonymity. Corporal works of mercy were in excess. We continue to dream of such a Christian community. It is a community imbued with genuine faith and hope in God and His promises and not a community that dwells only on material benefits and considerations.
The true community lives with hope and this hope gives joy and confidence in trials, as the second reading from 1Peter 1:3-9 says: it is a cause for great joy for you even though you may for a short time have to bear being plagued by all sorts of trials. When this text speaks of all sorts of trials, it includes the trials we face today, the trials from corona virus, with the attendant hunger and economic woes not excluded. Only genuine faith and hope can keep us going in the face of these trials.
The disciples of Jesus were facing such trials in the Gospel of today and locked themselves up for fear of those who brought about the demise of their master. They were like prisoners or dead people in the tomb. But Jesus came through the locked doors and brought them back to life and freedom. Only Thomas who was absent seemed to still doubt the new possibility of life until Jesus encountered him within the community gathering and liberated him. The message here is that it is there in union with the community that we encounter the Risen Jesus, and it is through faith in Him that new life and liberty begins, no matter the material conditions and no matter what the eyes presently see. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
It is always difficult to preach to those whose only hope and consideration are focused on this world and on the visible. God operates on diverse spheres, and only those who live in faith see Him and His operations. We see Him more in action when we, with faith and hope, join with our brothers and sisters in creating a better community and a society where no one is dying of misery and neglect.
God’s loving kindness and mercy have been released in abundance and He needs us to spread it around. Mercy is contagious. In fact, more contagious than any virus! As we show mercy, it keeps multiplying. There is always something we can do without waiting for the others. May the immensely Merciful God continue to increase our opportunities of better life as we strive and labour together!
Happy Divine Mercy Sunday!
Fr. Luke Ijezie