(My Homily yesterday, Second Sunday of Easter)
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Today is the 8th day of Easter, the last day of the octave of Easter.
Last Saturday on our Easter Vigil celebration the Gospel from St. Luke have let us to reflect on the experience of three Mary's upon the tomb of Jesus. They went there to clean the body of Jesus who was been taken from the cross on the afternoon of the Good Friday. There was no time then to clean the body of Jesus and to prepare him for proper burial because it was already the start of the Sabbath of the Jews. Instead the the three Mary's early in the morning of Sunday, which is the end of the Sabbath that can allow them to do their task as prescribed with the sabbath law, went to the tomb to prepare the body of Jesus. Presuming to find the Body of Jesus. However, what they saw was an empty tomb with two men in dazzling white proclaiming that Jesus is risen from the dead and is not around. Asking them why they are looking for the living in the presence of the dead. Though they did not find the body of Jesus nor the risen Christ, what they found was the two witnesses proclaiming Jesus from the dead.
The Gospel of John on the celebration of the Easter on the day itself , we see Mary fetching the disciples and telling them the news that the body of Jesus cannot be found on the tomb. Hearing this, the two disciples, Peter and John hurriedly went to the tomb to see for themselves. Truly, the body of Jesus cannot be found, what they saw was an empty tomb with used linen carefully wrapped on the side of the tomb. Though, they did not find the body of Jesus nor the risen Christ, what had they believed is the fulfillment of the message of resurrection proclaimed before by Jesus Christ before it happened.
Todays Gospel from St. John happed on two separate occasions. The first and Eight day of Easter. Both speaks of the experience of the apostles with the risen Christ.
When Jesus, the risen Christ first appeared to the apostles, he found the 10 apostles, Judas Iscariot is no longer with them and Thomas was not around for reason not explicitly given. The risen Lord showed his wounds from the nails pounded on him on the cross and from the lance that landed on his right side. The disciples in awe joyfully experience the fulfillment of the promise of salvation. When they met Thomas, they told them their encounter with the risen lord. Thomas, on the other hand skeptical of the news declared that unless he see the wound and let his finger be put on the wounds of Jesus hands and his hand on Jesus wound on his right side he will not believe. Maybe, on the thought that his fellow disciples might be playing tricks on him.
On the second Sunday, Thomas met the risen Christ pointing to him to put his fingers on his hand's wound and his hand on his right side to be certain that what he encountered is not simply a vision or a dream but the real Jesus risen from the dead.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a fulfillment of the promise of God's liberation and salvation to his people. His resurrection is a triumph of life over death, health over sickness, good over evil. This liberation is clearly woven by God's careful design and patience in developing Christ apostles and disciples to let them understand the awesome plan of God's Love as seen on his journey with the two disciples to Emmaus. A constant invitation of God to man to accept his Divine providence as he guide his chosen people from the desert to Egypt, from Egypt to Israel and to the heavenly Kingdom, the Promise Land.
This continual caring, guidance and mercy of God can be summed up with the celebration of the Church today as the feast of the Divine Mercy. It was on year 2000 that Pope John II have proclaimed that every second Sunday of Easter be the Sunday of the Divine Mercy. He saves us from our wickedness and the effect of sin that inflicted to us by our first parents and even of our own doing. It should also be noted that on todays Gospel, Jesus breathed on his apostles the Holy Spirit with the the instruction and the power to forgive sin or to deny it.
God's mercy is constantly woven to the very fabric of Christian existence being present in the Church that institutionalized the sacrament of reconciliation. A clear, distinctive and present presence of God's mercy to all of us. Christ salvific act happen once but its effect re-echoes to the world at all times. A constant presence of God's mercy to us whatever sin we committed, He is always there to cleanse us and to give us bountiful blessings. Blessings will certainly follow due to the fact that sin was removed and its effects of suffering and death because of Jesus Christ's resurrection.
It is but fitting to say that this is really a season of Easter. Some have asked why the resurrection of Jesus Christ was coined as Easter. Simply because it derived its name from East. East is where the sun rises. Wherever are you coming from the four corners of this globe, what country you might be living in, whether you are from Middle, East, Africa, America, or part of Europe or simply here in the Philippines, the sun rises from the East.
On this day, let us recall and reflect on our lives where did we met the risen Christ. Where did we encountered the Great Light that overshadowed our dark pass? Where good triumph over evil? Where salvation has liberated us from our suffering.
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