Acts 5:12-16; Rev. 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19; Jn. 20:19-31
Today we celebrate the Feast of Divine Mercy. This feast was instituted by Pope John Paul II in 2000. The feast arises out of a series of apparitions which a Polish nun, Sr Faustina received. In 1931 Sister Faustina saw Jesus dressed in a white garment. He held one hand raised
in blessing and the other hand close to his chest. Two rays of light emanated from him, one red and the other pale. This image is venerated and it is usually called the Divine Mercy Image.
Another very important event the Church celebrates today is the institution of the Church.
"It was evening on the day Jesus rose from the dead, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the authorities. Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you.' After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.'
Jesus after resurrection surprises disciples in upper room going through wall of locked doors into room to visit them. There are many contrasts presented before us by the Evangelists. The women who went to the tomb of Jesus found it open. But the disciples’ house is closed and the doors locked tight. The resurrected Jesus is above worldly controls but the disciples are bound in fear. The spiritual body of Jesus was not limited to the worldly laws of nature. But the disciples were scared of the laws of the contemporary world.
Jesus stood in front of the apostles offering them peace, and entrusting them with the mission to go out to the world to give his peace and mercy. Jesus continues to exist in this world through the church, and he wants the church to be his extension to reach to everyone his message of peace and share the divine mercy.
The following is a touching story of mercy from the Second World War.
The pilot glanced outside his cockpit and froze. He blinked hard and looked again, hoping it was just a mirage. But his co-pilot stared at the same horrible vision.
“My God, this is a nightmare,” the co-pilot said.
“He’s going to destroy us,” the pilot agreed.
The men were looking at a gray German Messerschmitt fighter hovering just three feet off their wingtip. It was five days before Christmas 1943, and the fighter had closed in on their crippled American B-17 bomber for the kill.
The B-17 pilot, Charles Brown, was a 21-year-old West Virginia farm boy on his first combat mission. His bomber had been shot to pieces by swarming fighters, and his plane was alone in the skies above Germany. Half his crew was wounded, and the tail gunner was dead, his blood frozen in icicles over the machine guns.
But when Brown and his co-pilot, Spencer “Pinky” Luke, looked at the fighter pilot again, something odd happened. The German didn’t pull the trigger. He nodded at Brown instead. What happened next was one of the most remarkable acts of chivalry recorded during World War II.
My brothers and sisters, this week, as we reflect upon today's readings, let us ponder upon our role in the Church. The commission that Jesus gave to the disciples to be His Ambassadors is a command to all the Christians to all the centuries to follow.
May the grace of God be with each and every one of you to choose your calling.