April 14, 2023

Divine Mercy Sunday / Msgr. Owen F. Campion

The Sunday Readings

Msgr. Owen CampionWith deep faith and faith-filled excitement, the Church continues the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection and final victory over death and sin at Easter begun a week and a day ago.

As is the case in almost every Mass of this season, the first reading this weekend comes from the Acts of the Apostles. Acts originally was seen as a continuation of St. Luke’s Gospel, and these books should be considered as being in sequence.

Together they tell an uninterrupted story of salvation in Jesus, from Jesus’ conception in the womb of Mary to a time years after his ascension.

This weekend’s reading reveals to us what life was like in the time shortly following the ascension. The first Christians, many of whom likely knew Jesus, reverently followed the Apostles. They were a vibrant living community, eagerly caring for the needy, praying and “breaking the bread,” a term referring to the Eucharist in the early Church (Acts 2:46). St. Peter clearly was the chief of the Apostles.

Most importantly, Jesus still lived and acted through the Apostles and in the Church. The sick were cured. The deaf heard. The blind saw. No one was beyond the Apostles’ concern.

For its second reading this weekend, the Church offers us a passage from the First Epistle of Peter.

Obvious and inspiring in this reading is the first Christians’ intense love for and faith in the Lord. It was a faith that was often challenged. The culture in which Christianity was born and grew in almost every respect either rejected the ideals of the Gospel or held them in contempt.

Many of the first Christians died as martyrs because they so steadfastly held to what Jesus had taught.

St. Stephen and all but one of the Apostles themselves died as witnesses to the Gospel.

St. John’s Gospel provides the last reading. It is one of the most beloved and familiar of the Resurrection narratives.

In this reading is the story of the reluctance of the Apostle Thomas to accept that Jesus indeed had risen from the tomb. Then, as all recall, Jesus dramatically appeared on the scene. He invited Thomas to believe. In awe and the uttermost faith, Thomas declared that Jesus not only is his teacher, but that indeed he is God.

The Lord then conferred upon the Apostles that most divine of powers, the authority to judge what is sinful and to forgive sin.


In two days, the people in Israel and for Jews everywhere will remember the millions who died in Adolf Hitler’s savage persecution of Jews.

Evil in the world has been and still is is overwhelming. Violence and hatred in this country. Nicaragua. Ukraine. Blatant immorality.

These historic and current evils provide half of the picture of human existence. The other side shows how beautiful is life when the risen Christ reigns and is acknowledged.

This we celebrate on Divine Mercy Sunday. God sent the Lord Jesus to us in mercy. Christ redeemed us. He strengthens us. He shows us how to live. He leads us away from evil.

Christ’s victory over evil has been demonstrated so many times in history. He has never failed.

The Apostles and their successors brought Christ to their contemporaries. Their successors in the bishops bring him to our world today. They connect us with Jesus. They still act through the Church, so vivid in early Christianity.

As differences among themselves unsettle Catholics today, these readings tell us to gather around Peter and the Apostles. Be strong of faith. In the end, all will be good.

Trust in the Lord, as the martyrs trusted. His truth will prevail. †

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