Third Sunday of Easter, April 18
It Is When We Emulate God’s Love to Others that We Begin to Find the Desire to Be Christ-like in All Our Thoughts, Words and Actions; and, Most Importantly, We Find the Desire to Live The Divine Mercy of God in Our Own lives.
We hear our Lord saying to those gathered in the Upper Room in today’s Gospel, “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…”
Some time ago, I remember reading a quote from the late Monsignor Edward Connors from the Archdiocese of New York, and it is a quote which has stuck with me. He stated, “The clock is ticking in each of our lives, and you never know if it’s midmorning or five minutes to midnight.”
Even my own wife has her own favorite expression which she sometimes uses with the children and grandchildren reminding them to live their lives properly, so that their thoughts, words and actions may be pleasing before God, “Tomorrow morning is never promised.”
Both expressions speak to the same truth – we are mortal beings, composed of “flesh and blood”, and that moment in time when each of us, both you and I, will take our final breath is known only to God.
The gift of eternal life – and it is just that, a most wondrous gift! – is offered to each one of us out of the profoundness of God’s unfathomable and infinite Love which He holds for each of His children, regardless of race, the tone of our skin color, our age, sex, political persuasion, or creed.
How we open our hearts to this greatest of all gifts – eternal life in His Kingdom – a Kingdom which is filled with unimaginable love, peace and happiness – becomes an expression of our love for the God who has knitted us together in our “mother’s womb”, as the Psalms tell us. How we open our hearts to this greatest of all gifts may very well determine the doorway through which you and I will pass from this life to the next!
On this Third Sunday of Easter, the common thread which we find weaving itself throughout today’s Readings, a theme which we find God Himself writing, inscribing upon our hearts, is the grace of repentance and forgiveness.
In today’s First Reading, we find Peter proclaiming salvation through Jesus Christ to the crowd of Jews assembled in the Temple area, “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.” It is through the charism given him by the Holy Spirit that Peter finds the strength and ability to evangelize to the crowd, who, just a few weeks earlier, were shouting for Jesus’ crucifixion!
Although Peter seems to admonish them for their actions, he does so with understanding when he says, “Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did; but God has thus brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer.”
In our Responsorial Psalm for today, our psalmist, who is King David, is singing a song of lament when he prays, “…O my just God, you who relieve me when I am in distress; have pity on me, and hear my prayer!” David speaks about his own human frailty, about his own faults – and his dependence and trust in God’s mercy and loving forgiveness.
This same theme of mercy is echoed in our Second Reading from the First Letter of John; for John writes, “…Jesus Christ the righteous one…is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world. The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments.”
And finally, we find in our Gospel reading a continuation of what happened after the two disciples from Emmaus came back to recount all that had happened to them, when they recognized the Risen Christ after the breaking of bread.
And then, Jesus appears to all of them. To calm their fears, He emphasizes that He has flesh and bone and is not a spirit; and, in order to place them at ease, He asks for something which is completely normal for a person with flesh and bone – food.
And because the Apostles still do not fully understand or grasp all that has taken place, for they had not yet received the Spirit at Pentecost, Jesus opens their eyes to all that was written about Him by Moses and the prophets, and He continues by saying, “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, beginning from Jerusalem.”
Repentance and forgiveness – these two words go hand-in-hand and are synonymous with God’s Loving Mercy. And, lest we forget, it is His Divine Mercy which we joyously celebrated last Sunday!
“…repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, [is to] be preached in [my] name to all the nations…” These were instructions given not only to His Apostles, but also given to each one of us – for our Lord’s words are timeless. These are words of commissioning, guiding each of us in the fulfillment of our baptismal grace to live the values of – and be witness to – our Christian faith.
As Christians, we respond to this today by the way we live our lives – how we interact with each other, not only with family and friends, but also with all those whom our lives touch. For how we love God is shown through the virtue of selfless charity which we live and extend towards others.
John continues to write in another part of his Letter, “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God…We love because he first loved us.”
And it is in this love, a love which emulates God’s Love, where we find the desire within ourselves to become Christ-like – a desire to be humble, a desire to be contrite and repentant, and, most importantly, a desire to live The Divine Mercy of God in our own lives!
For it is then that we, ourselves, shall receive mercy, and the “love of God” shall truly be “perfected” in us!
As we progress in our individual walks of faith, and whether it is “midmorning or five minutes to midnight”, as the clock continues to tick away in our own lives – prayerfully, we shall one day hear our Lord say to each of us as we walk through that final threshold into eternity:
“Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
Only with the help of His grace, that greatest gift of all gifts, which our Most Merciful and Loving God offers to each and every one of us, shall one day be ours to cherish and forever enjoy!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
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 [Jesus] 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)
- “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works!” (Psalm 139:13-14b)
- “Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he shows sinners the way, He guides the humble to righteousness, he teaches the humble his way.” (Psalm 25:8-9)
- “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.” (Acts 3:19)
- “Answer me when I call, my saving God. When troubles hem me in, set me free; take pity on me, hear my prayer.” (Psalm 4:2)
- “…Jesus Christ the righteous one…is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world. The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments.” (1 John 2:1b-3)
- “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God…We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:7, 19)
- “But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to live just as he lived.” (1 John 2:5-6)
- “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
- “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34bc)
Prayer for the Day
“Jesus, Loving Companion of Your children,Anonymous
You have extended Your friendship to all.
You opened Your arms without discrimination,
offering Your warmth and hope,
and Your Merciful Love to those seeking comfort.
“Endow me with the virtue of such a friendship,
to know, love and trust all on an equal basis;
To share my friendship without prejudice,
and to be compassionate and charitable
towards those who are less fortunate.
“Fashion my heart to reflect Your qualities,
those befitting a loving and caring spirit.
Jesus, You showed me the way to true friendship;
Help me to be more like You in the world around me,
so that I may remain with You forever. Amen.”