The Gospel reading for the second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday) teaches us something surprising: Jesus still has His wounds. Although the other marks of His passion have healed, Jesus still carries the wounds because they are a sign of God’s great love for us, and of the price paid for our redemption. Holy Communion is the most precious thing we will ever hold in our hands, because of how much it cost Jesus to give that gift to us – His whole life. The second most precious thing we will ever hold in our hands is another person. We should hold Holy Communion with the same reverence we would hold a baby, because we truly are holding the Body of Christ.
What connects Mass and the Resurrection? The Body and Blood of Christ present at Mass. Don’t come to Mass for what you can get, but come to give. When you give your heart, Jesus gives you his. We believe the Eucharist is Jesus’ Body and Blood because Jesus said so, and sometimes there are miracles that help our faith. Jesus gives us the Eucharist so we can be in communion with him. Live your Communion every day.
Our human life is marked by a lot of darkness. Although life is beautiful, we can easily feel that death is stronger, and that death has the last word. Easter Sunday proves once and for all that life is stronger than death, that the light is stronger than the darkness. Every Easter, the Church asks us to recommit ourselves to our baptismal promises, which is the promise to reject hatred and evil in order to live in love and do what is good.
Adam and Eve were offered a choice between Life and Death. They rejected God’s will and cut themselves off from life. But God didn’t give up on us. In another garden Jesus said, “Not my will but yours be done.” He showed that Love is stronger than death. Easter means God has given us another chance. We can “fake our death” by drowning our sins in the baptismal water. Christ is Risen!
The Easter Vigil recounts three of God’s great moments in history: creating the world, making a covenant with Abraham, and saving the people of Israel from slavery. Greater than all of these things was the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, who saved us from sin and death. Baptism is how God saves us from sin and death and gives us a new life in Christ.
In September there was a story about a man who died after jumping into his septic tank. His son, Joseph, had fallen into the tank and the man jumped in to save his son. Falling into a septic tank is a perfect image for what our sins do to us. On Good Friday, we remember that Jesus jumped into the darkness of sin in order to push us out.
August 5, 2010, a cave-in at a Chilean mine left 33 miners trapped deep underground. Rescuers bored down to them from the surface, then sent an escape capsule with a rescuer inside. One by one they entered the capsule and were winched up out of the mine. All the men were saved.
Our world is like a collapsing mine. God sent Jesus to be our Rescuer. One by one we are loaded into the rescue capsule, which we call a casket, and we are lifted to the surface. Be not afraid!
Most everyone in today’s Gospel regrets their choices: Judas hangs himself, Peter weeps bitterly, Pilate washes his hands, and even the soldiers regret their choices. How can we live without regrets? By imitating Jesus and choosing the will of God the Father.
Jesus comes into the city of Jerusalem on a donkey. He does not come in power to conquer the city, but He comes in humility and allows the people the freedom to choose whether they will accept Him or not. We need to walk with Jesus, not only when He is being praised by the crowd, but also when He is being hated and rejected. True friends are with one another in bad times as well as in good times, and we need to be true friends of Jesus. Jesus is a true friend of us; He is not only with us in the good times but He is especially close to us in our sufferings.
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” The Lord was here, and took care of his friend. It’s never too late because there is no place Jesus won’t go for His friends. Jesus will even go to die for his friends. Are you really friends with Jesus?