Love neighbor, but love God first

Fr. Vincent Hawkswell

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God,” St. John says in this Sunday’s Second Reading, “and everyone who loves the parent loves the child;” that is, those God has adopted through baptism. The First Reading shows how the early Christians practised this love. “The whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul,” it says; “everything they owned was held in common.” (2021)

God is with us!

Fr. Austin Fleming

So, Jesus is risen from the dead only a matter of hours (not even a whole day) and here he is appearing to his unfaithful friends, the very ones who deserted him when he needed them the most. And his first words to this motley crew are words of forgiveness, words of peace, words of mercy. No judgment.  No condemnation.
Huddled in fear in this locked room are these friends of Jesus who, after the Last Supper, could not stay awake one hour to pray with him, and who ran away when the Roman guards came to arrest him; friends who spoke not a word in his defense at his trial – except for Peter who three times denied he even knew Jesus. Here are the closest disciples of Christ
who were nowhere to be found when Jesus needed help carrying his cross. They were counted among the absent at the foot of the cross. They were afraid to go with the women to the tomb on Easter morning. And to such as these Jesus offers words of forgiveness, peace and mercy. Not a word of judgment.  Not a word of condemnation…. (2015)

Breath of creation

Fr. Evans K Chama, M.Afr

We are still in the joy of Easter, especially in this Sunday of the Divine Mercy. In the Gospel, the disciples after meeting the risen Christ their fear turns to joy and the doubts of Thomas open into an expression of profound faith. That’s the pascal experience for the disciples. And you, how is the Good News of the resurrection crossing paths with your life? (2018)

Fr. Chama’s reflection is divided into these sections:

What a contrast!
Disciples’ fear in me
Recreating Easter experience
No I am not condemned forever!
Resurrection as daily Easter experience
Place of Divine Mercy in Easter experience

He understands us and has mercy

Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino

Pope St. John Paul II declared that this Sunday, the octave day of Easter, should be Divine Mercy Sunday.  It is a time for us to focus on our need for God’s mercy, and the abundance of mercy he showers upon us.

With the exception of the angels among us, which would be just the infants and little children,  we often shock ourselves with how easily we go off the deep end, losing our tempers, our patience, engaging tongue before brain, doing that which we said we would no longer do, again and again, and not doing those acts of charity that we know we need to perform.  Without rattling off a long list of negatives, suffice it to say that we are all frail human beings.

Sometimes, though, we hide behind our humanity to justify our actions.  We say, “I’m only human, you know.”  But that is never an acceptable excuse for our behavior.  We are not only human.  We are also spiritual.  Jesus died on the cross so we could share in His resurrection, so we can have a spiritual life.  Through the grace of our baptism, our acceptance of the New Life of the Resurrection, God dwells within each of us.  We are infinitely more than human.  We are sons and daughters of God. (2021)

More Homilies for this Sunday

God’s mercy forgives our doubts (2018)
The battle against doubts (2015)
He is not too good to be true (2012)
Doubts lead to faith that leads to action (2009)

God calls us to redistribute not just wealth but mercy too

Jamie Waters

“Help me, O Lord, that my eyes may be merciful, so that I may never suspect or judge from appearances, but look for what is beautiful in my neighbors’ souls and come to their rescue” (Diary, No. 163). This is an excerpt from St. Faustina’s “Prayer to be Merciful.” Today is Divine Mercy Sunday, a day that reminds us to pray for God’s compassion and forgiveness and to afford the same to one another. The first reading offers an early Christian perspective on mercy and compassion that can inspire us today. The second reading and the Gospel remind us of the power of the Holy Spirit to help propel the church forward….

On this Sunday of Divine Mercy, we should pray for God’s continued mercy on us all. Moreover, we should be inspired to act mercifully toward one another, sharing resources and gifts and asking for and granting forgiveness to one another.  (2021)

The wounds we carry

Fr. George Smiga

Today’s gospel is not only a glorious appearance of the risen Lord. It is also a humiliating reunion between Jesus and his disciples. Remember, this is the first time that the disciples have seen Jesus since his passion and death. During the passion, all of the disciples abandoned him, and Peter who was the first of the apostles denied him three times. So this scene is as much a fearful reckoning as a joyful reunion. The disciples would be justly afraid of what Jesus would say to them. What he says to them is, “Peace be with you.” Jesus tells the disciples upfront that they are forgiven, that their relationship with him can continue. At these words, the disciples rejoice.

But although the disciples are forgiven, it would be wrong to conclude that their betrayal has been erased. Although Jesus offers to the disciples his peace, this does not mean that they have been returned to the condition they were in before their sin. This is why Jesus shows them his hands and his side. His body bears the wounds of his passion. Those marks are present, in part, because of the failure of his friends. So although this gospel is about forgiveness and reconciliation, it also tells us that the failure of the disciples cannot be completely eliminated. Jesus will bear the mark of their sin always. (2018)

More Homilies for this Sunday

Marks of wounds and glory (2006)
Holding fast to each other (2015)

Community transformations

Fr. John Kavanaugh, SJ

We have not a few liberals and conservatives who act as if the presence of the other side is a contaminant in the church. There have been wars and persecutions mounted in the name of dogma. There have been excommunications and interdicts in the name of right practice.

Divisions have wounded the church and injured our witness in faith. The passion for being right has served the cause of ego at least as much as it has served the cause of Christ.

Does this mean that anything goes, that there is no cause or truth worth standing up for and making divisions over? Is it an invitation to the chaos of diversity without any center or unity? Not necessarily.

What provided the occasion for the renewed entry of Jesus into the community was the fact that they were gathered together in his name. At least Thomas had not hardened himself to their testimony. At least he had not put himself out of and above the church. He may have had the attitude of a dissenter, but it was in the context of Christ as the center of their relationship. There is division, but there is also humility and openness..(1997)

Lifeissues.net website publishes articles directly related to issues raised in Evangelium Vitae, and related homilies by Fr. Al Cariño, O.M.I., Fr. Tony Pueyo, and others.

Let Thomas be Thomas

Al Carino

Thomas was independent minded. He was not the type who just went along with the tide.

Peace be unto you.

Frank Enderle

We know the sadness, the defeat, the powerlessness and the disappointment that the Apostles felt on the day that the Lord died on the Cross. On Easter Sunday, the presence of the Risen Christ among them calmed their fears and their faith was strengthened once again.

No Grudges

Antonio P. Pueyo

When I contemplate the image of the Divine Mercy, I get the feeling that Jesus is looking into the deep recesses of my heart and despite what He sees there, He forgives and He accepts me.

Jesus Helps Us Overcome our Fears

Jeremiah R. Grosse

Jesus understood very well what impact fear had on his disciples. On numerous occasions He would tell them, “Be not afraid” because He knew that fear would drive them to do things that they would otherwise not normally do. The Letter of St. John tells us that God is love. God is also perfect and we know from the Scriptures that perfect love casts out fear.

Meeting the Risen Lord

Antonio P. Pueyo

Peter jumped into the water and swam to Jesus on the shore. His attitude is like that of a child who gets excited at seeing his mother coming home. There is no hesitation or conditions. Only one thing matters – the beloved is here. We can compare Peter’s attitude to that of Thomas. Thomas doubted and he presented conditions, “Unless I see the marks of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (Jn. 20:26).


Douglas P. McManaman

95% of the things we do every day are based on faith—not supernatural faith, but natural faith, which is “trusting in what somebody tells you because you have evidence that the speaker is well informed about the subject and is honest.” For example, we have faith in our family doctor that the prescription he writes for us is not going to kill us. Christian faith is a grace that gives us the power to believe what God has revealed about Himself and which exceeds the grasp of human reason. But if a person is given that grace, he or she has to choose to cooperate with it. But some people find that very difficult and even refuse, yet they have no problem trusting the media, their colleagues, their bosses, their friends, etc.

Lifeissues.net website publishes articles directly related to issues raised in Evangelium Vitae, and related homilies by Fr. Al Cariño, O.M.I., Fr. Tony Pueyo, and others.

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