The Church’s liturgy sings today, “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us be glad and rejoice in it.” This is the greatest of all days because Christ is risen. Because of His resurrection the history of humanity has been rewritten and we have been reconciled with God. The doors of heaven have swung open and we are given entrance into paradise. May all of us enjoy the peace of the Risen Lord!
Can you imagine what the apostles were feeling before Jesus appeared to them on Easter Sunday? They probably were wondering what the Lord would say to them. They had abandoned Him at His crucial hour because they were afraid for their own lives. Even Peter who had professed his loyalty to Jesus had denied Him three times. Judas had betrayed Him. Even though they knew how readily He forgave sinners, they were concerned.
There is an old story that goes like this. After meeting the Risen Lord, Mary Magdalene comes to the disciples to bring them the good news. She says to Peter and the others: “I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the Lord is indeed alive. I have seen Him. The bad news – Jesus has been asking where all of you have been the last three days.” The behavior of the disciples during last three days of Jesus’ life showed that they were weak, human beings just like us.
When Jesus finally appeared to them in the upper room, His message was simple. “Peace be with you,” He said. “I give you peace that the world cannot give.” Jesus offered them peace that comes from forgiveness. He erased their past and invited them to step into a new future. They could begin again. The Lord once again proved that He is the God of second chances.
He certainly gave a second chance to Peter. If He were just like us, He would have said to the first apostle: “Peter, you let me down. I called you rock but you proved that you were nothing but sand. You are not going to be my vicar. I will give that title to John who remained faithful to the end and stood at the foot of the cross.” Instead, all that the Master had to ask His fallen disciple was a simple question: “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Fully aware of his own failure, Peter responded with heartfelt sincerity, “Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus persisted in His choice of Peter as the head of the Church.
Easter is all about hope. That hope springs from the constancy of this God’s love that offers us second chances. When the gospels were written, persecution was already raging against the early Christians. Some of them fell away from the faith. Probably some faithful Christians wondered how it was possible that some had denied their faith. The gospel writers offered hope because even the apostles had failed and yet the Lord had reinstated them.
Next Sunday we will be celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, it is important to recall the boundless mercy of our God Who gave us His Son as our Redeemer. I invite our parishioners to go to St John Brebeuf who will be offering confessions and conduct the special celebration. As pastors of this area we have agreed that if one parish offers a special devotion we would encourage our parishioners to participate there instead of duplicating it.
Let us rejoice in our God Who continues to offer us His mercy and forgiveness. He gives us not only two but many, many chances. He knows that we are weak and we fall. Let us thank Him for His unfailing love. Let our churches resound with alleluias because the Lord is risen and we have reason to hope.
May the joy and peace of Easter fill your hearts and homes! I have prayed for you and your loved ones during the Sacred Triduum and at all my Easter Masses. Please pray for the parish and for your priests.
Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.
After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...