Thursday in the Octave of Easter, April 25
May Our Relationship with Jesus Christ Help Us to Recognize the Forgiveness We Need in Our Own Lives, and May It Truly Guide Us to Emulate The Divine Mercy Which Christ Gives to Each of Us.
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations…” – words which our Lord was speaking to His disciples in the Upper Room on Easter Sunday.
Repentance and forgiveness – two words which go hand-in-hand and are synonymous with God’s Loving Mercy. In our First Reading today, we hear Peter reminding the Jews of their conduct in how they rejected the “Holy and Righteous One”. Yet, in his discourse, he did not chastise them for their actions.
For he says to them, “Now I know, brothers and sisters, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did…Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment…”
I am sure that Peter was remembering the time when he, himself, rejected Christ three times and was forgiven. So he could do no less in speaking to the Jewish people. Drawing from his own experiences when Jesus acted with mercy and kindness towards Peter’s weak nature, Peter responded likewise with understanding and compassion toward others, a trait which we are each called to live in our own daily lives.
In our Responsorial Psalm for today, we hear the psalmist, whom we believe to be David, singing a song of praise with the words, “O LORD, our Lord, how glorious is your name over all the earth!” David speaks about the frailty of human beings to whom God has given great dignity, “What is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should care for him?”
And yet, that is exactly what God does – He cares for us; He watches over us – lifting us up, strengthening us, guiding us with each step we take on this journey of ours through life.
In the Letter to the Hebrews, we are reminded, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.”
Our relationship with Jesus Christ tells us that we have a Savior who truly understands the human condition, One who truly understands the fears and the sorrows we oftentimes face in this vale of tears through which you and I must travel.
And it is this understanding we find in today’s Gospel, a continuation of yesterday’s Reading. Here, the two disciples just came back from Emmaus to recount to the Apostles all that had happened to them. And then Jesus appears to everyone in the room, and Scripture tells us, “…they were startled and terrified…”
When He says to them, “Peace be with you” – it is difficult for us to truly appreciate the depth of our Lord’s greeting. The Aramaic words Jesus uses are the standard Hebrew greeting, “Shalom aleichem.”
Depending upon the context in which it is used, “Shalom” has a much deeper and a much more profound meaning than does the English word “Peace”.
In order to calm their fears, and to also show that our Lord has forgiven them their weaknesses in abandoning Him during His Passion, the word “Shalom” takes on a context of both compassion and understanding, and He places them at ease. He gives to them a peace which only a God of infinite and indescribable Love could give.
And is that not what you and I desire in our daily lives – a sense of knowing that, in spite of our human frailties, in spite of our own failures at times in rejecting our Lord, we have a God who truly loves and cares for us; we have a God who only wishes to embrace us with His Mercy, a God who says to each of us, “Shalom aleichem.”
Jesus offered up His Life on the Cross so that our fallen nature may be reconciled to the Eternal Father for all times. And, in paraphrasing our Lord’s words, He says to those gathered in the Upper Room in today’s Gospel, “…repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, [is to] be preached in [my] name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
These words were not only an explanation but also instruction given not only to the Apostles, but also to each and every one of us today, as they have been handed down through all generations of faithful believers since the beginning of the Church.
As Christians, we respond to His words today by the way we live our lives – how we interact with each other, not only with family and friends, but also with those whom we have a hard time liking. It is easy to forgive someone we love; it is not so easy to forgive someone we dislike.
Remember the words of Jesus, however, after He had preached about the Beatitudes, “But to you who hear, I say love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
How we love God is shown through the virtue of charity that we live towards others. This includes the act of being merciful to those who offend or hurt us.
Again, the words of Jesus teach us, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” And, in another place He says, “Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.”
There are a couple of expressions I am sure each of us has heard at one time or another: “Tomorrow morning is never promised” and “Live each day as if it were your last” – two simple expressions which can help us to change our lives for the better.
They can help us become a better people; they can truly help us to become more Christ-like in the life of faith we live each day – in both our words and our actions. And they can be expressions which help us to always remain opened to the peace with which our Lord wishes to bless us.
May the relationship which you and I are fostering with our Lord, Jesus Christ, help us to live our discipleship with love for each other. May it help us to be humble in recognizing the forgiveness which we need in our own lives, and may it truly guide us to emulate The Divine Mercy which Christ gives to each and every one of us.
Realizing that “tomorrow morning is never promised”, and that all we truly have is the present moment, let us always make the most of it, so that God’s Mercy and Peace may truly dwell within you and me! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “And he said to them, ‘Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations…’” (Luke 24:46-47)
- “Now I know, brothers and sisters, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did…Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment…” (Acts 3:17, 19-20a)
- “O LORD, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth! …What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:2a, 5)
- “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
- “But to you who hear, I say love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27-28)
- “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
- “Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:36-37)
- “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” (John 14:27abc)
Prayer for the Day
“May the Lord bless you and keep you!
May the Lord let His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!
May the Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!”a Judeo-Christian Blessing (cf. Numbers 6:24-26)