Divine Mercy and Third Easter Sunday. 2021 B.

Divine Mercy and Third Easter Sunday. 2021 B.

He is risen! Indeed, he is risen!

We are now in the season of the Resurrection. From now until the Day of the Holy Spirit we will hear testimonies of encounters with the risen Lord Jesus. We have six inspired testimonies. They are the four Gospels, the letters and Acts of the Apostles, and the Jesus movement we call the Church.

The witness of these inspired writings and the living Tradition of the Catholic Church are the foundational source of our Catholic Christian faith. What these writings tell us is that three days after the crucifixion and death of Jesus of Nazareth, his followers began to have experiences that they could only describe as “Jesus is risen.” “I have seen the Lord.”

Whatever the experience was, the six sources agree that “with great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.” Empowered by that Holy Spirit, the Jesus movement from them to you continues to testify: “Jesus is risen! Indeed He is risen!”

In this apocalyptic decade of the 2020’s this is some hard stuff to believe.

What had happened to those ordinary women and working class fishermen? What had changed them? Where did they get the ‘faith’ to suffer joyfully for a man who a few days ago had died by the conspiracy of religion, politics, and nationalism?

Somehow as the bible testifies, these people, these women had heard a voice call their name and they recognized who called them.

Somehow, these women received unbelievable news in a fantastic way, and they ran to tell it.

Somehow the fearful men put their fingers into the nail pierced hands and put their hands in the wounded side –and believed!

Somehow, listening to the texts explained and seeing the bread blessed, broken and handed over eyes were opened and mouths declared: “My Lord and my God!”

These rejected people who normally would not with each other connect, connected through their encounter with the risen Jesus, and having connected -Jews and pagans, masters and servants, Africans, Asians, Romans- they became the Community of Believers – of one heart and one mind, and you and I are here today friends of the friends of the friends of Jesus!

Because of these encounters -these testimonies- many friends of Jesus joyfully faced persecution. They were un-friended and dis-connected from the popular and the famous but in this Way, they testified that Jesus is risen. Their testimony became the testimony of a community of believers, which became the testimony of a Christian movement, which became the witness of the Catholic Church, which becomes the testimony of Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish!

Luke, and Pete, and Magdalene’s testimony now becomes your testimony and the stone that was rejected has become the corner stone!

With a secure connection to the Holy Spirit you testify that Jesus lives and you practice militant love of your enemy, strangers and your neighbor.

The second reading however tells us that there was division in the “Community of believers.” There were some in the community who disagreed with John, saying “I know Jesus and I am a good person without sin.”

But 1 John 2:1-5 says to know Jesus is to keep God’s commandments. And the commandments boil down to forgive one another as you by God have been forgiven. If you don’t love each other then you do not know Jesus; you are a liar says the letter from St. John.

The lector workbook (p.169) puts it this way:

“The tone of the first Letter of John suggests a Christian community that had recently experienced an [ugly divorce] over [catechism] and practice. Feelings within the community …are still raw. Apparently some who once belonged to the community -opponents of the author of this letter- were saying that they know God…and they have no sin. The author is fierce in his refutation of these claims, charging them with being liars and walking in darkness.”

So while the community of believers written about in Luke were of one heart and one mind practicing distributive justice, the community written of by 1 John is divided over catechism and practice and many have left the community. Think about them. Think about us.

To be of one heart and one mind means that you testify that Jesus Christ is risen and your testimony agrees with the four Gospels, the Letters of the Apostles and the Living Tradition of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Consider the testimony of Mary Magdalene.

At the tomb Mary did not recognize the risen Lord until he called her name.

When God calls your name, God calls the whole of your being.

When God calls you by name God calls your past, your future and your present self; your body, mind and soul.

As Mother Mary sang, “My soul proclaims the greatness of God, my existence rejoices in God my savior” and so when Jesus called her name He called her completely and she recognized, he is risen! Indeed he is risen.

This is God’s amazing grace and Mercy divine!

It is so real most people are not aware of it.

It is so intimate most people don’t feel it.

It is so flavorful most people don’t taste it.

It is so complete, most people don’t know that they are connected in it.

It is so simple smart people miscalculate it.

It is Divine Mercy and grace amazing: Jesus is Risen, the tomb is empty and the Community of Believers is of one mind and one heart!

Beloved, put your finger in the wounds of his hands, place your hand in the wound of his side; join around bread blessed, broken and handed over; run and proclaim the message of divine mercy and amazing grace!

Testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

Christ is risen! Indeed he is risen! Alleluia!