Liturgy of the Sunday

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Second Sunday of Easter
Sunday of the "Divine Mercy". Today the Orthodox Churches celebrate Easter.


First Reading

Acts 5,12-16

The apostles worked many signs and miracles among the people. One in heart, they all used to meet in the Portico of Solomon. No one else dared to join them, but the people were loud in their praise and the numbers of men and women who came to believe in the Lord increased steadily. Many signs and wonders were worked among the people at the hands of the apostles so that the sick were even taken out into the streets and laid on beds and sleeping-mats in the hope that at least the shadow of Peter might fall across some of them as he went past. People even came crowding in from the towns round about Jerusalem, bringing with them their sick and those tormented by unclean spirits, and all of them were cured.

Psalmody

Psalm 117

Antiphon

Eternal is the mercy of the Lord.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good,
for his love endures for ever.

Let the sons of Israel say :
'His love endures for ever.'

Let the sons of Aaron say :
'His love endures for ever.'

Let those who fear the Lord say :
'His love endures for ever.'

I called the Lord in my distress;
he answered and feed me.

The Lord is at my side; I do not fear.
What can man do against m?

The Lord is at my side as my helper:
I shall look down on my foes.

It is better to take refuge in the lord
than to trust in men:

It is better to take refuge in the lord
than to trust in prices.

The nations all encompassed me;
in the lord's name I crushed them.

They compassed me, compassed me about;
in the Lord's name I crushed them.

They compassed me about like bees;
they blazed like a fire among thorns.
In the Lord's name I crushed them.

I was thrust down, thrust down and falling
but the Lord was my helper.

The Lord is my strength and my song;
he was my saviour.

There are shouts of joy and victory
in the tents of the just.

The Lord's right hand has triumphed;
his right hand raised me.

The Lord's right hand had triumphed;
I shall not die, I shall live
and recount his deed.

I was punished, I was punished by the Lord,
but not doomed to die.

Open to me the gates of holiness :
I will enter and give thanks.

This is the Lord's own gates
where the just may enter.

I will thank you for you have answered
and you are my saviour.

The stone which the builders rejected
has become the corner stone.

This is the work of the Lord,
a marvel in our eyes.

This day was made by the Lord;
we rejoice and are glad.

O Lord, grant us salvation;
O Lord, grant success.

Blessed in the name of the Lord
is he who comes

We bless you from the house of the Lord;
the Lord God is our light.

Go forward in procession with branches
even to the altar.

You are my God, I thank you.
My God, I praise you.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
for his love endures forever.

Second Reading

Revelation 1,9-11.12-13.17-19

I, John, your brother and partner in hardships, in the kingdom and in perseverance in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos on account of the Word of God and of witness to Jesus; it was the Lord's Day and I was in ecstasy, and I heard a loud voice behind me, like the sound of a trumpet, saying, 'Write down in a book all that you see, and send it to the seven churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.' I turned round to see who was speaking to me, and when I turned I saw seven golden lamp-stands and, in the middle of them, one like a Son of man, dressed in a long robe tied at the waist with a belt of gold. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead, but he laid his right hand on me and said, 'Do not be afraid; it is I, the First and the Last; I am the Living One, I was dead and look -- I am alive for ever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and of Hades. Now write down all that you see of present happenings and what is still to come.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 20,19-31

In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, 'Peace be with you,' and, after saying this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord, and he said to them again, 'Peace be with you. 'As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.' After saying this he breathed on them and said: Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone's sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone's sins, they are retained. Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, 'We have seen the Lord,' but he answered, 'Unless I can see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.' Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. 'Peace be with you,' he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving any more but believe.' Thomas replied, 'My Lord and my God!' Jesus said to him: You believe because you can see me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe. There were many other signs that Jesus worked in the sight of the disciples, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

The second Sunday of Easter is dedicated to the mercy of God. The Gospel passage we heard helps us understand the meaning of mercy. The evangelist John recounts the evening of Easter and the evening eight days later, as if to mark the time of the Church. And actually, since that day, Easters have been celebrated in an uninterrupted chain, Sunday after Sunday. Every Sunday is the Easter of the Lord. And the Lord reveals himself. Just as he revealed himself the evening of Easter and again eight days later. It was hard for the disciples to recognize him. It is like us when we allow ourselves to be taken by our thoughts and our little faith and our distractions or by our hardness. Jesus gives us the greeting of peace. He speaks to us and shows us the wounds on his body. Those wounds opened the disciples' eyes. He is risen and he is still wounded. It is as if in his body death and resurrection formed one thing. He is risen and yet he still has his wounds. It is like if in his body death and resurrection are one thing. The risen Jesus carries his wound forever: the merciful carries those wounds on his body, the wounds of when he was on the cross and the wounds of those who, still today, are on the many crosses of this world. The risen Jesus is one who continues to feel for the poor. He is the merciful; he is the one who has the heart which allows itself to be wounded by the poor. There is no resurrection without him taking upon his body the wounds of men and women. And so it is for the Church: we are a community of disciples with wounds of the Passion. Sent by the Lord to forgive, to heal to disarm hearts from violence.
And so Jesus returns eight days later. And Thomas is also there. He was not a bad disciple--he was actually quite generous--but he was too secure of himself, secure in his feelings and convictions. So much so that he said: "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe" (v. 25) Thomas seemed to intuit that there is no resurrection without wounds on the body. Memory is not enough, not even the memory of the teacher, or knowing or valuing his teaching. There is a need to encounter him again. And Jesus returns and again brings a greeting of peace. And he immediately calls Thomas to him: "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe" (v. 27) Before Jesus who was marked by his wounds of the cross, Thomas confesses his faith: "My Lord and my God!" And Jesus says, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe" (29). It is the last beatitude of the Gospel.