Posted by: fvbcdm | April 25, 2014

Easter Friday (25 April 2014)

As I come to record this message today, we seem to be witnessing the final days of the life and pontificate of our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. And then, this Sunday, the Sunday immediately following Easter Sunday, has been proclaimed by this same pope to be the Sunday of Divine Mercy. Why? Because the gospel for this Sunday recalls the appearance of the risen Christ to his apostles and his conferring upon them the power to forgive sins.

We must always remember that Jesus came into this world to reopen the gates of heaven to the human race. Access to eternal life with God had been lost because of the sin of our first parents and then the subsequent sins of us, their offspring. But the whole reason why God created the human race was to share with us his goodness, love, and joy. He would certainly not have allowed human sin totally to wreck his tremendous plan of love. So God the Father, in consultation with the Son and the Spirit, sent the Son into the world as a human being so that he could represent this human race of ours, and suffer, die, and then rise again to bring about the salvation of humanity.

Last Friday, we contemplated our Divine Lord dying on the cross. His last words were, “It is finished . . . Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Then he died. His death was redemptive and opened the gates of paradise for those deserving of it. So when he reappeared to his apostles and disciples after his resurrection, he immediately placed at their disposal and ours the benefits which he won for us by his cross and resurrection.

“Peace be with you,” he said to them. This peace of Christ is the harmony between God and man, made possible by Jesus our mediator. Then he breathed on them (in the ancient languages “breath” and “spirit” were thought of as being the same thing. And when he did this he said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit (the divine Breath of God); whose sins you forgive are forgiven; whose sins you retain are retained.” Forgiveness, pardon, and mercy are the prizes that Jesus has won by his terrible death and glorious resurrection. He springs out of the tomb and brings these tremendous gifts to us; they are made available in and through his Church and its ministers. Every time a priest or bishop hears sacramental confessions and gives absolution to the penitent sinner, he is dispensing the Mercy of God to that person. Jesus wants to forgive us even more than we want to be forgiven. It is his greatest joy to be able to reconcile us with our heavenly Father. That is why we call him our Savior, Redeemer, Mediator, and High Priest. All these titles are basically synonymous: they mean that Christ brings us back to God after we had been alienated.

Back in the 1930’s, Our Lord appeared to the Polish nun, Saint Faustina. He instructed her to have a painting made of him in the form in which he appeared to her, and below the image were to be the words: Jesus, I trust in you. Let us make that our constant prayer, our constant reminder that only Christ can lead us safely through this life into eternal joy. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago

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