The instilling thought in today’s two readings almost overwhelms us: we find Jesus in a special way in community! The First Reading (Acts 2:42-47) shows what can happen if we share our faith and make the spiritual journey together. We find people praying together regularly, celebrating Eucharist together regularly, and sharing their possessions with those in need. It’s no wonder that loving witness of their lives should catch the attention of their neighbours, and lead to more conversions. Our Lord makes his presence known in such communities, including “signs and wonders.” He works through them as a result of their faith.
We find the same communal setting occurring in the gospel (John 20:19-31). The difference seems to be that this time they are doing more than sharing bread and prayers; they are sharing fear! They are behind locked doors, afraid for their lives. Still, it is into this communal gathering that the Lord chooses to appear, providing the things that take away fear: his peace and the Holy Spirit!
One more gift is given to the community of apostles: the power to forgive sins! It’s not only fear of physical harm that is removed by the peace of Jesus; now he removes fear of the afterlife. An avenue has been opened to continue the saving action of Jesus, through the Sacrament of Forgiveness!
The Easter Season is a special time to celebrate with one’s entire being this greatest of events in the history of the world, the Resurrection! Not only that, today on Divine Mercy Sunday, we celebrate the love, forgiveness and mercy of Jesus – tender gifts that he longs to give to us freely, if we will only accept them!
Our Lord told Saint Faustina, “When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I Myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity." Pope John Paul II designated today ‘Divine Mercy Sunday’ on the occasion of Faustina’s canonization on April 30, 2000. Through the Sacrament of Confession, we are reconciled with God and the Body of Christ.