GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY – 23RD APRIL 2017
GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY (based on Catholic Liturgical Readings)
DATE: 23RD APRIL 2017
SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER
DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY
FIRST READING: Acts 2:42-47
PSALM: Psalm 118: 2-4, 13-15, 22-24
SECOND READING: 1 Peter 1:3-9
GOSPEL: John 20:19-31
THEME: THE WOUNDS OF MERCY
Rose Hartwick Thorpe wrote a narrative poem entitled, “Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight”. This poem is set in the 1600s during the English civil war and narrates the sad story of a young and beautiful woman called Bessie whose lover Basil had been captured by the Puritans, thrown into prison and sentenced to be shot that night once the curfew bell rings.
The woman begged the sexton (the one who rings the bell) to delay the ringing of the bell but the old man was unwilling. So Bessie heroically climbed to the top of the bell tower and clasped herself around the bell. Hanging between heaven and earth, she manually prevented the bell from ringing. In the process she got bruised and wounded.
When Oliver Cromwell, the English military and political leader, finally arrived on the scene, this woman fell at his feet, told her story and showed her hands, all bruised and torn. Seeing the depth of love and courage exhibited by this woman, Cromwell was so touched that he immediately issued a pardon for Basil, her loved one.
In our Gospel text, Jesus offered a very symbolic gesture to a group of fearful disciples who had locked themselves up in a room. After speaking words of peace to them, “he showed them his hands and his side” (Jn. 20:20).
Jesus had the power to resurrect without any scar on his body and yet he chose to have on him the holes made by the nails in his hands and the imprint on his side caused by the lance. The gesture of showing these marks to his disciples was not an empty one but an efficacious reminder of the import of what had been accomplished on the cross.
On the cross, Jesus offered his body and blood, soul and divinity to his eternal Father in atonement for the sins of the whole world; and for the sake of his sorrowful passion, the Father looks with mercy upon each one of us – “Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet. 1:3).
Two points can be drawn from the above discourse:
1. Christ’s wounds of mercy bring pardon to the sinner. Anytime you doubt the mercy of God, remember the marks of the cross on the resurrected Christ and doubt no longer but believe – No sin is too heavy for the ocean of God’s mercy to handle.
2. The experience of God’s mercy must overflow into showing mercy to others. This is descriptive of the early Christian community – “All who believed were together and had all things in common; they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need” (Acts 2:44-45)
May the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday not be a mere ritual but a concrete experience of the virtue called MERCY.
PRAYER: Eternal Father, your name is Mercy and your love is enduring. May your mercy flush out every sin and weakness in me and make me an instrument of your healing to all those I will encounter today. For the sake of the sorrowful passion of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on me and on the whole world. Amen.
Andrews Obeng, svd
DIVINE WORD MISSIONARIES
BIBLICAL PASTORAL MINISTRY
“May the darkness of sin and the night of unbelief vanish before the light of the Word and the Spirit of grace. And may the heart of Jesus live in the hearts of all people” (St. Arnold Janssen).