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Sunday, April 3, 2016

We Glory in the Resurrection and God's Divine Mercy

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
Divine Mercy Sunday, April 3, 2016
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Tucson, AZ

Today, we glory in Our Lord’s resurrection and the new life that we are given in Jesus Christ. 

We celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday -- the opportunity to reflect on the Easter message  in a deeper and more profound way.

The resurrection of Our Lord is the hope for every Christian. Jesus has come into our world to bring us divine life, and His resurrection from the dead is a witness that every person is offered this hope of salvation. 

We hear in today’s Gospel (John 20:19-31) that Our Lord Jesus appears to His disciples after He has risen from the dead. He shows them that He is still in His flesh, revealing the wounds from His hands and His side. He tells   Saint Thomas, the doubter who did not at first believe, to touch His wounds. 

Yet, while Our Lord shows the reality of His humanity after He had rose from the dead, He also emphasizes His divinity. Jesus appears to His disciples even though the doors were locked. Jesus walked through walls, and He performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples.

My brothers and sisters, Our Lord Jesus has indeed risen from the dead! This is what we believe as Christians! Yet if we want to reap the benefits of the resurrection, then we must demonstrate we truly believe that Our Lord has risen from the dead by the ways in which we live our lives. 

We hear in today’s Gospel that when Thomas witnesses the miracle of Jesus' resurrection, Our Lord asks him,
“Have you come to believe because you have seen me?” Our Lord then adds, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

These words to Thomas are given to us! None of us were there when they crucified our Lord. But, we are Our Lord’s Church today.

We did not see Our Lord when He rose from the dead, but we are the ones who are called today to be witnesses of the manifold grace that our good and gratuitous God wants to give us thorough the crucifixion and resurrection of His Son! 

Yet, the question that we must ask ourselves today is if we truly believe that Our Lord has risen from the dead, do we live our lives in expectation and longing for the glory of heaven? Do we treat our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit so that we can live with God for all eternity?

We live in a time today where the resurrection of Our Lord is not believed by the majority of the people. Our culture denies the resurrection because we as a people do not  live for heaven. Our culture lives for the flesh.

The immorality of our society today is leading many persons  toward eternal destruction. In 1917, the Blessed Mother told the children at Fatima that more souls go to hell because of the sins of the flesh than for any other reason! 

The resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ calls us to live new lives. Every one of us was created by God to live with Him forever in both body and spirit. But we must choose to live with God forever by the ways in which we live our lives. 

Our Lord teaches us that this current world is passing away and He is coming again to judge the living and the dead. All of us will be given new bodies. 

Whether our new bodies will enjoy eternity in heaven or suffer in the fires of hell is up to us.  

In today’s second reading (Rev 1:9-19), Saint John is given a vision of the end times. Our Lord tells Saint John, “Write down, therefore, what you have seen, and what is happening, and what will happen afterwards.”

My brothers and sisters, if we want to know what happens afterwards, all we have to do is read the rest of the Book of Revelation. In this book we are told that this world in which we live is going to change drastically. In fact, this world is rapidly changing right now!

Today our Church not only celebrates the resurrection of Our Lord, but today our Church also celebrates Divine Mercy. Our
Lord gave us this message less than 100 years ago because it is extremely pertinent to our times today.
Our Church was given the revelations of Jesus, Divine Mercy, through a Polish nun, Saint Faustina, who lived during the early 20th century. She lived in a critical time of human history -- the horrors of World War I. But before her death in 1938, she predicted a second world war -- "[another] war, a terrible, terrible war," and asked the nuns to pray for Poland.

Overall, Our Lord’s words to Saint Faustina seem to indicate urgency in presenting Our Lord’s message of salvation. God knew that  wars and violence, immorality and dangers, would continue to escalate. And faithful Catholics would desperately need to pray for God’s mercy upon the world. In fact, Our Lord told Saint Faustina that she would be used to help prepare the world for His final coming.
St  Faustina Kowalska
Secretary of Jesus, Divine Mercy
He told her to tell the world about this great mercy because the awful day, the great day of justice is near!

My brothers and sisters, Our Lord Jesus has indeed risen from the dead, and He is coming again soon as the just judge. But He doesn’t want anyone to perish. This is why Our Lord suffered on the cross and rose again from the dead! Let us believe in the resurrection of Our Lord by the ways in which we live our lives. 

Let us not live for a world that is perishing, but let us live for life eternal. For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

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