By Fr.  Mathias Kwehangana, St. Charles Lwanga Seminary Nyakibale.

Acts 4:32-35, 1 John 5:1-6, John 20:19-31


Today we give thanks and praise to God for his love, care, providence and protection. In St. Paul’s words we are what we are by the grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:10).

On the 30th of April 2000, St. John Paul II declared the Second Sunday of Easter as “Divine Mercy Sunday”. It was on the occasion of canonization of St. Faustina of Vilnius, the promoter of Divine Mercy devotion now spread all over the world.
Since then we celebrate on this day, Jesus Christ as the “source of divine compassion and mercy” for the whole of humankind most especially for us poor sinners. We receive God’s mercy through the Sacrament of Penance during the period of lent in preparation for Easter celebrations.

The whole mystery of Easter celebrates God’s mercy. The celebration of God’s mercy has its origin since the celebration of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. God’s mercy enlightens us to better understand the Easter mystery because it opens our minds to better understand the mystery of God and our presence here on earth. Thus pushing us to be witnesses of Easter in our lives.

The mercy of God that St. Faustina saw as the “red rays representing the blood of Christ and the torn pale blue colour or blue which represents the water of Baptism that re- qualified human souls before God. The celebration of God’s mercy reveals God’s generosity, forgiveness and love, which in its entirety is celebrated in the Easter mystery. Celebrating Divine Mercy is celebrating joy of the sinners whose sins are forgiven. Jesus said that there is more joy for the Shepherd over one sheep that was lost and found than over 99 which were never lost (Luke 15:4-7). In her revelations St. Faustina said, “mankind will not have peace until he/she turns to the fount of divine mercy”. This invites us to be merciful in our words, generosity to tithe payment and care to our families, communities, doing duties entrusted to us efficiently and effectively, and by being models of good morals (Luke 6:36, 17:1-3). In respect to this the Church continues to offer Sacraments to her children for the purpose of all to reach salvation.
Today’s Sunday invites each one of us to be more close and embrace the divine mercy in order to have a taste of the joy and peace that flows from the mercy of God (cf. John 4:10; 14:27).

Friends in Christ, since Good Friday we started the divine mercy Novena. Have you noticed anything or you are still waiting? For some there is no hope they lost faith already. Be calm only have faith. In the second reading we have heard that victory that conquers the World is our faith. Who can defeat the World? Only the person who believes that Jesus is the son of God (1 John 5:4-5). Do you want to excel have faith and believe in Jesus the son of God. When you see others receive answers to their prayers do not lose hope. Don’t be jealous or envious of others’ testimony. If you have not received your own blessings, don’t despair, your blessings are still coming! (Luke 18:7-8).

Pray continually and do not lose hope (Luke 18:1).
+ Become a positive thinker. When you meet every kind of trial, know that the test of your faith makes you steadfast (James 1:2-3).
+ Act with courage: Be strong and take courage, all you who hope in the Lord (Psalm 31:24, see also: Philippians 4:13).

In today’s gospel, Jesus greeted his fearful and hopeless disciples with a sign of peace: “Peace be with you”(John 20:19b). When we overcome fear, open our hearts to God in prayer every day we enjoy interior peace and tranquility. We even notice the voice of the Master (John 20:21-23).

That interior peace is the fruit of divine mercy which we obtain wherever we approach the Sacrament of Penance and receive the Eucharist (John 6:53-54). How often do we receive the Sacrament of Penance? King David’s prayer of repentance should always inspire us (Psalm 51:10-12). Do you want to receive life? If yes, receive the Eucharist (John 6:54-57). A Christian should not live in constant fear but trust in God’s care, providence and protection (Psalm 121:7-8, Isaiah 41:10-11).

Eight days later, visited them once again. Thomas was not present when he came and could not believe until he could see and touch the wounds in his hands and his side. Jesus’ second occasion of greeting was the same: “Peace be with you”. But he added: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe”(John 21:29).

Let us not despise the faith of the Apostle St. Thomas, sometimes called Thomas the unbelieving. Let us learn from his humility and simplicity especially whenever we kneel in front of the Blessed Sacrament: “My Lord and my God!”(John 20:28).
Let us also learn from him the importance of community prayers and community life (akataagi, family, Hiika, parish and Diocese). There are many graces and blessings which are destined to those found gathered together in the spirit of love (Matthew 18:19-20). The answer to your prayers is in the community prayers, so be there. You remember the parable of the five wise virgins and the foolish ones who at a given moment were absent from the room looking for more oil for their lamps. By the time they returned the door was closed and they missed the joy of sharing in the long awaited banquet of the son of God (Matthew 25:1-13). Community prayers are important and those of us who miss them miss a lot of blessings.

The Apostles (Priests of today), through the church continue to invoke Jesus’ Name, and signs and wonders continue to happen. The celebration of the Eucharist and the Sacraments reveal that Jesus is alive. Amen!