Read John 20:19-31
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood... Read More…
Meet Sister Marilyn Kerber
Sister Marilyn Kerber resides in Cincinnati, Ohio and originates from Chicago, Illinois. She recently retired as the Director of the Office of Religious for the... Read More…
“The community of believers was of one heart and mind…” Is this not our hope for our families, our friends, our communities, our nation, our world? And perhaps we could go as far as to say this is a hope we have for aspects of our very self, our physical, psychological and spiritual self? Today’s readings are rich with clues as to how to bring our hope to fruition.
The reading from the Acts of the Apostles tells us some of what this community would look like. We would not hoard our material possessions, all would be held in common. We would bear witness to the resurrection of Jesus. And there would be no needy person among us! What an ideal! What a witness! What if we truly saw our earth as our common home? How would we think about the immigrants and refugees in our midst? What would we do to counter the violence just about everywhere around us?
And why this Sunday is also called Divine Mercy Sunday is clear as we reflect on the Gospel of John proclaimed today. Jesus says to the gathered disciples “Peace be with you.” and “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven… “ What greater signs of mercy could there be for us? No one reading this reflection is a “big time” sinner and at the same time all of us are sinners in need of God’s mercy and mercy from one another. And Jesus’ encounter with Thomas! Did Jesus berate him for this lack of faith? No, he invited Thomas to do what Thomas said he needed to do to believe. These are examples of mercy, offering peace and forgiveness, are ways to move toward being a community of one mind and heart.
A reflection on mercy of necessity leads us to consider the Works of Mercy. Did you memorize the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy as a young person? Have you ever wondered about their origin? “Though the lists of the works or acts were formalized later (at least by the time St. Thomas Aquinas wrote the Summa Theologica), the importance of performing these duties was urged from the earliest days of the Church.” (www.aquinasandmore.com) The roots of the works of mercy are in the Old and New Testaments. And they certainly give us a path, concrete ways for creating a community of believers that are of one mind and heart.
And where or how do we gain the strength, the will to be a community of one mind and heart, to be merciful as our God is merciful? It would be today’s second reading that clues us in. It tells us that “…whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.” We are begotten by God in the waters of Baptism. “And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.” And our faith is in Jesus who the reading refers to as coming through water and blood, the Pascal Mystery which we have just celebrated in the Triduum and Easter and celebrate each time we participate in the Mass. It is with and through Jesus that we can become communities of one mind and heart.
How might I help bring a community closer to being of one mind and heart this week?