Homily – Divine Mercy Sunday MMIX 4/19/09

Homily – Divine Mercy Sunday MMIX        4/19/09

We read in the First Reading how in the early Church,  people would voluntarily place all that they had, all their possessions, at the feet of Peter and the Apostles.    These possessions were then distributed to each according to their need.  And as a result, there was no needy person among the Christians.

The early Christians were so eager and willing to take all they had and lay it at the feet of the Apostles, because this is exactly what Jesus did in the Upper Room as we see in today’s Gospel – Jesus took all that He had and laid it at the feet of the Apostles, holding nothing back for Himself.

On the Thursday before, in that same Upper Room, Jesus had already given them His very Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.

And the day after Jesus gave His Body and Blood to them, He gave His life up for them on the Cross to save them from their sins.   In doing so, Jesus gave an open door to the Kingdom of Heaven to the Apostles.

And just minutes before He gave up His life, Jesus while hanging on the Cross gave the Apostles the second dearest thing He possessed in Life, His Mother Mary.

We might think, what more could Jesus give to his Apostles than the Eucharist, the Merits of His Passion, the potential for Eternal Life of Heaven, and His Mother?

But after He rose from the dead on Easter Sunday, the Risen Jesus had three more things to lay at the feet of the Apostles.

That first Easter Sunday evening, when the doors were locked in that Upper Room where the Apostles were, for fear of those who crucified the Lord,

Jesus come and stood in their midst and said to them “Peace be with you.”

So the Risen Lord Jesus gave first of all His Easter Peace to the Apostles that first Easter Night.    The peace of knowing that Jesus is Risen, the first fruits of all who have fallen asleep.    The peace of knowing that one day He will raise us up, that He will raise our loved ones up, if we believe in Him and obey His commandments.

Secondly, when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus at the Last Supper had promised to give them the Holy Spirit after He had died.  And that Easter Night, the first thing the Risen Lord did was keep to His promise by breathing on the Apostles the Holy Spirit, a Spirit they would receive in its fullness 50 days later in the same Upper Room on Pentecost Sunday.

And the lastly, the third gift Jesus laid at the Apostles feet that Easter Night was the Sacrament of Penance:    Receive the Holy Spirit my Apostles.  Whose sins you Apostles forgive, they are forgiven. My Father and I will not hold those sins against them on judgment day.

And so from that day on, whoever came before the Apostles and sincerely confessed their sins to them were always forgiven by the Apostles by virtue of this great gift of the Sacrament of Confession given on Easter night.

And so today we rejoice with the Apostles, that the Risen Lord Jesus has laid at their feet these three new and precious gifts of Peace, the Holy Spirit, and the Sacrament of Penance,  gifts which the Church distributes to each according to their need, so that there is no spiritually needy person among all the members of the Church.

On this Divine Mercy Sunday, may you and I imitate Jesus and the early disciples by giving all we possess and placing it at the feet of Peter and the Apostles, at the service of the Church.

May we especially strive to give all we have in performing the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy,

in Giving food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty
Clothing the naked
Freeing those unjustly enslaved
Welcoming the stranger or alien
Visiting the Sick

and     Burying the Dead (the Seven corporal works of Mercy)

and also
in Admonishing the Sinner
Instructing the Ignorant
Counseling the Doubtful
Comforting the Sorrowful
Bearing wrongs patiently
Forgiving all injuries

and     Praying for the living and the dead (the 7 Spiritual Works of Mercy)

In this way, we will truly be showing ourselves disiciples of our Merciful, Risen Lord.

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