St. Augustine Catholic Church
Sunday, April 19, 2020
Second Sunday of Easter, Sunday of Divine Mercy
I know that for many of our parishioners this has been a strange and somewhat lonely time. But for me, it has been a quieter time and has allowed me to give more of my day to the Lord. There is no question that we have all greatly missed the events of Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. We especially miss being present for mass and receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus. If I may take a moment, to say “Great Thanks for Simeon and Michelle, along with Father Bob and Father Chris for all taking part in making St. Augustine Live Streaming and doing it in a social distancing way. I have personally had to make my personal social distancing even more extreme because as this all hit the fan, my problem of vertigo and balance became worse. It seems to be getting better but it doesn’t matter because we are all cautioned to quarantine.
The great joy is Christ Risen Alleluia!! I believe the Holy Spirt is very active right now in giving us a present of love and joy within our hearts. I beg of you to read the readings for this week. The first reading is from the Acts of the Apostles, Acts 2:42-47.This reading talks about the great joy of celebrating among the disciples as lovers of Christ and one another. It makes me think of the love we have for one another and the joy we have when we gather.
Our second reading is from St. Peter, 1 Peter 1:3-9.We are praised for believing and loving Jesus, even though we have not seen Him. It also expresses that we will have to go through many trials, like gold being tested and purified by fire. St. Peter says, “You rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” That joy is the Joy of the Holy Spirit celebrating within us as we express our love of the Son of God.
Our gospel reading is from John 20:19-31. The apostles were in the upper room with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, when suddenly Jesus comes and stands in their midst. They must have been quite frightened. Jesus’ first words were, “peace be with you,” He then adds, “As the Father sends me, so I send you. Receive the Holy Spirit.” He then says, “Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain, they are retained.” It seems rather obvious that Jesus has come to put the apostles to work. He doesn’t want to dwell on his crucifixion nor his resurrection, but rather He is telling them that they are to go out and “feed the lambs.” At the end of this reading, he again appears to the apostles while Thomas is present and He invites him to put his fingers in the wounds of his hands and his hand into Jesus’ side. Thomas responds, “My Lord and My God.!” Now Jesus speaks to us when he says, “Blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe.”
John goes on to say that Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of the disciples that are not written down, and then said, “but these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.” I can’t think of anything more important in our faith or our scripture than those words.