A Word from Fr. Chris
Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive
they are forgiven and whose sins you retain,
they are retained. (John 20:22-23)
The second Sunday of Easter offers us some points of reflection on the Resurrection story of Jesus Christ.
Firstly, this Sunday which brings us to the close of the Easter Octave enables us, as it were, to climb a little down from the high peak of the Easter celebration where the liturgy of the Church and those of us who pray the Divine Office remain on the Easter Day prayer.
Secondly, from the First reading of today’s Mass we could see that the Easter event brought a tremendous change of a new life style on the people. The believers bore great witness to the Resurrection story. They lived a life of charity and love such that no one claimed any possession as his own. They sold them and brought the money to the Apostles so that the community could be cared for from such resources.
Thirdly, their faith in Christ was highly uplifted, particularly of what rising from the dead meant which was vaguely accepted at the beginning. Even the doubting Thomas who argued that unless he put his fingers in the holes made by the nails on Jesus’ hands and feet and in His side was led to proclaim his faith in the resurrected Christ, “My Lord and my God”.
Fourthly, it was on this Sunday that we read that Christ conferred the power to forgive sins to the Apostles, by these words, “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven and whose sins you retain they are retained”. This power to forgive sins by the Apostles was transferred to bishops and priests and has been the practice in the life of the Church over the centuries until today.
Another highlight of this Sunday of Divine Mercy proclaimed by Pope St. John Paul II in the year 2002 about the mercy of God revealed to St. Faustina. It is that God loves all humanity who have to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins. And from the prayer, “Jesus I trust in you” of the rosary of Divine Mercy, we can always receive God’s mercy and make it flow through us to others.