Tag Archives: Christ’s resurrection

2nd Sunday of Easter

Today is the second Sunday of Easter; and with it we conclude the Octave of Easter.

On this day we celebrate the Divine Mercy: Years ago, in the 1930s, Jesus appeared to Sister Faustina Kowalska and promised her that He would bestow His Divine Mercy on any sinner, who would repent his sins, no matter how grave they were. He promised He wouldn’t refuse any soul that would seek His mercy. He also asked Sister Faustina, on numerous occasions, that a feast day be dedicated to celebrate the Divine Mercy and that this day be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter.

Jesus the Divine Mercy

On 30th April, 2000 when Pope John Paul II canonized Sister Faustina, he said, “It’s important that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the church, will be called Divine Mercy Sunday’.”

On this day-today-people are asked to reflect on their lives and repent whatever wrongs they have committed, no matter how big. Based on this, the day is also known as the feast of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Today, being the eighth day (one week) since Easter Sunday, Christians are called to reflect on the mysteries of Easter; how Christ’s death and resurrection has impacted our lives:

Why Sunday; genesis of Sunday as the day of worship

After His resurrection, Jesus made His first appearance on Easter Sunday, when He appeared to Mary Magdalene and later His disciples. Thomas, also known as ‘the twin’ wasn’t with them at the time. When the rest of the disciples told him Jesus had appeared to them he refused to believe.

Eight days later, when the disciples were gathered in a closed room, afraid of the Jewish authorities, Jesus appeared to them. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus asked him to feel the scars on His hands and on His side. It’s only after that experience that Thomas believed He truly was the risen Christ. (John 20: 11-28).

On both occasions, Jesus appeared to His disciples on the first day of the week; which on the current calendar is translated as a Sunday. Before His death and resurrection, the Sabbath-Saturday-was observed as the holy day. That’s why the authorities faulted Jesus for healing people on the Sabbath; which was against the law as the commandments handed down to Moses said to keep the Sabbath day holy.

After He resurrected, the first day of the week-Sunday-was interpreted to be the day of meeting with the Lord. And from then, Sunday is celebrated as the Holy day.

Faith as communitarian; importance of going to church

We’re told Thomas wasn’t in the room the first time Jesus appeared to His disciples. One would wonder, “Where was he?” In the bible it’s not mentioned where he was at the time. Again, one would imagine the state he was in after learning of Jesus’ resurrection. Excitement and fear maybe? Chances are he was out there trying to confirm if there was any truth to the rumours being circulated about Jesus’ resurrection.

Wherever he was, he didn’t see Jesus. That’s why he had a difficult time believing the other disciples. Alone, he didn’t find the resurrected Christ. It was only when he was together with the other disciples, gathered behind locked doors that Jesus appeared again.

From this we see that when it comes to matters faith, one might not find Christ on a lone journey; but it’s evidently clear that where people are gathered in prayer, the Lord is ever present. Due to this, people are encouraged to pray as a community; as a church.

Blessed are those who have not seen me and yet believe

Jesus told Thomas, “You have believed me because you have seen me. Happy are those who haven’t seen me and yet believe.”

A Christian’s life is all about believing the unseen; believing in a God we have never seen. We’re told faith is a gift. This is simply because one can’t buy it from a mall etc. It’s something that should be felt; something we receive from God’s Holy Spirit. Like the air we breathe; we don’t see it, but we know it’s there. It’s the same with God. Should we refuse to believe He exists just because we have never seen His face? Only the Son knows how His Father looks like. But should that stop us from believing?

In John 8: 55, Jesus told the Pharisees, “You have never known Him, but I know Him. If I were to say I do not know Him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know Him, and I obey His word.”

We believe in God the Father, because we believe in the God the Son.

Thomas is a symbol of all those who doubt Christ. It’s okay to have doubts because it’s only by trying to clear the doubts that we find answers, which in turn strengthen our faith. However, in this day and age, God doesn’t make ‘dramatic’ appearances like He used to in the olden days. For the Christians of today, we believe because of the experiences written in the bible. If one waits to believe when they actually see God, the day might never come, so they’ll die without believing.

From my own experiences though, I can say confidently; God is always there with us. We only have to let ourselves feel His presence in our lives. Call Him today; He will answer. And if He doesn’t come immediately, don’t lose hope. Jesus took eight days to appear; to prove His resurrection to doubting Thomas. It’s all about Faith and Hope. That is what Easter gives us.

 

 

Do not feel rejected; He loves you

Fifteenth station-Jesus is risen from the dead

ALLELUYAH! ALLELUYAH! ALLELUYAH! Christ is risen from the dead!

Christians all over the world are celebrating the resurrection of Christ. After the lent season, which is essentially a solemn period, now we are in celebration mode.

Christmas and Easter are the two most important feasts in a Christian’s life. The former is fundamental because we celebrate the birth of Christ, and the latter because we commemorate His death and resurrection. Easter is more important though.

So much has been said/written about this whole dying and resurrecting thing; one article caught my eye though. The writer talked about man’s origin from a scientist’s perspective; the evolution theory seeks to explain where man came from. To them it’s all about physics and chemistry. They say the genesis story is all a myth.

Science can explain it all, right? The day the sun stood still and the moon stopped so Joshua and his army could fight; the dividing of the Red Sea during the Exodus, when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and Pharaoh’s men drowned… but what about the resurrection of Christ? The gap between life and death? Christ’s ascension? Is it all a myth?

The resurrection of Christ is the basis on which Christian faith is founded. During mass, bread and wine are consecrated as a re-enactment of the last supper. Jesus in His words said, “Do this in memory of me.” Christians faithfully follow His will. And the mystery of faith, ‘Dying You destroyed our death, rising You restored our life, Lord Jesus come in glory.” See, it’s all founded on His resurrection. If He didn’t come back to life, people would have no hope of life after death.

Many non-believers think of death as the ultimate end of a person’s life. Christian doctrines however, teach that death is only the beginning of eternal life. All this we believe because Jesus Christ died and resurrected.

Naysayers doubt Christ resurrected. From the scriptures though, it’s clearly evident He rose from the dead. Firstly, the tomb, which was guarded by roman soldiers, afraid that His disciples would steal His body, was opened. Early Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been taken away from the entrance. (John 20: 1).

Secondly, the soldiers who guarded the tomb went back and told the chief priests everything that happened. The chief priests met with the elders and made their plan; they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers and said, “You are to say that His disciples came during the night and stole His body while you were asleep. And if the governor should hear the story we will convince him that you are innocent and you will have nothing to worry about.”

The guards took the money and did what they were told to do. And so that is the report spread around by the Jews to this very day. (Matthew 28: 11-15).

Thirdly, doubting Thomas’ experience confirms further that Jesus resurrected: He was not with them when Jesus came. When the other disciples told him they had seen Jesus, he said, “Unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in His side, I will not believe.”

A week later, the disciples were together again indoors and Thomas was with them. The doors were locked, but Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands; then reach out your hand and put it in my side. Stop your doubting and believe me!”

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God.”

Jesus said to Him, “Do you believe because you see me? Happy are those who believe without seeing me.” (John 20: 24-29).

These alone are enough evidence for anyone to believe Christ rose from the dead. He conquered death. Whatever your situation, whether in prison, sick, childless, mourning, hungry… do not feel rejected. He loves you! Through his resurrection, He conquered death; a wage of sin committed by our first parents, Adam and Eve. Because of His resurrection, those who believe in Him have nothing to fear.

He destroyed death; man’s greatest enemy. What else can’t He destroy? Your problems and mine are nothing to Him. We only need to take them to Him in prayer. We only need to keep the faith.

Now one would ask, “If He was in deed the Son of the Almighty God, why did he have to die in the first place? Couldn’t God spare Him the excruciating pain?”

Truth is, if God wanted to, He could have spared Jesus the pain. Before Jesus was arrested, He prayed while at the Mount of Olives. “Father,” He said. “If You will, take this cup of suffering away from me. Not My will however, but Your will be done.” (Luke 22: 41). God could have stopped Jesus’ passion, but He didn’t. He, in His infinite wisdom, knew His Son would achieve something greater by dying. Through His death and resurrection, we believe.

When Jesus died, His disciples hid themselves, afraid the same fate would befall them. But after they learned of His resurrection, they went out courageously preaching the things He had taught them (Acts of the Apostles). God knew Jesus’ followers would need something to believe in. He let His son suffer for the sake of mankind. He so loved the world, that He gave His only son. It was all for us.

Christ’s resurrection is a renewal of faith and hope. This Easter, we’re called to be His followers; to believe in God’s undying love.

HAPPY EASTER!