2nd Sunday of Easter – Cycle A (Divine Mercy Sunday)


On April 30, 2000, His Holiness John Paul II, in response to the wishes of the Christian faithful, declared that “the Second Sunday of Easter henceforth throughout the Church will also be called Divine Mercy Sunday.” The desire for this celebration was expressed by Our Lord to Saint Faustina as can be found in her Diary (§699):”… My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession, and receive Holy Communion on this day shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment…”

Easter is the feast in which the Church is given authority to forgive every repented sin.

1st Reading – Acts 2:42-47

What we have just seen, in this description of the very early Christian Church are the four elements of catechesis:

  1. The teaching of the apostles (the creed, the Profession of Faith);
  2. the communal life (the commandments, Life in Christ);
  3. the breaking of the bread (the sacraments, the Christian Mystery); and
  4. the prayers (Prayer).

These four classical divisions of catechesis are reflected in the four major parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church today.

2nd Reading – 1 Peter 1:3-9

“Our inheritance is imperishable because it is a heavenly life which neither age nor illness nor death nor plague can touch. It is undefiled because no unclean person can enter into it. It is unfading, because the heavenly blessings are such that even after long enjoyment of them the blessed never grow tired, whereas those who live in earthly luxury eventually have their fill of it and turn away from it.” [Saint Bede the Venerable (ca. A.D. 416), On 1 Peter]

“Just as gold is tried by fire and becomes useful, so also you who live in the world are tried in it. So then, you who remain in it and pass through the flames will be purified. For just as gold casts off its dross, so also you will cast off all sorrow and tribulation, becoming pure and useful for the building of the tower.” [Hermas (ca. A.D. 140), The Shepherd, Visions 3,1]

Gospel – John 20:19-31

Having celebrated Jesus’ resurrection last week at Easter, we now hear of His first appearance to His apostles after that event.

The Second Sunday of Easter can be called Saint Thomas’ Easter since he was not present at the first appearance of the risen Lord.

Thomas’ response is the most complete affirmation of Christ’s nature to be found on the lips of anyone in the gospel.

Jesus reintegrated Thomas back into the community spoken of in the 1st reading.

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name (v. 31).

This final verse summarizes the purpose of the gospel as having faith in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God as the source of eternal life.


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