Take a minute and head over to the USCCB.org Site and click on the little calendar for April 19th, READ THOSE SCRIPTURES!
How crazy is it that those words would appear to us now during a global pandemic? I mean, we have St. Luke preaching to us in the Acts of the apostles about what the Church was like after Christ's resurrection. "Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God, and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved." Right now, we cannot meet in the temple area due to the concerns over COVID-19. But we can break bread in our homes! We can cook and eat and clean with joy, praising God for the abundance of blessings we have in our own four walls of a home. The Church didn't start in massive structures with hundreds gathered for worship. No, the Church began in small groups; they didn't receive eucharist every week, but they lived in communion with one another across streets, neighborhoods, and cities. Every Christian home was a Church in those days, and many martyrs were sacrificed for this tradition. Many people are in a sad state because they cannot come to Church and receive Eucharist. Many people are struggling with the idea that we are still a Church (read: The Body of Christ) even though we are socially distant. WE ARE THE CHURCH friends, not some-place or a building. These are our roots. It is right there in the Acts of the Apostles. I would argue we are still making miracles happen in our present-day by the ways we are helping one another through this crisis. If we focus on that truth, spending six weeks, six months, or the entire 2020 calendar year in a limited social context is not the end of anything. It will still be painful, but through those pains, we can experience some semblance of joy. We have to dig a little deeper.
Being we celebrate Divine Mercy this weekend, take a few moments and surrender to the mercy you experience every day in your house. As Paul states in his letter, we are going to have to suffer for a little while. Part of the Christian experience is to embrace some suffering to appreciate the joy of resurrection. Paul also reminds us to rejoice with indescribable and glorious joy, as we attain the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls.
Part of this Divine Mercy understands what Jesus did in saying, "Peace be with you" to those who betrayed and abandoned him. It is a demonstration of how simple reconciliation is in the eyes of Christ. The Almighty could have struck them dead. He could have thrown them to Lucifer. He could have done so many things you and I would see as justifiable, but Jesus didn't. He took a tighter and more enlightened path. Jesus teaches us in four simple words what it means to be Christ in the world.
"Peace be with you." How simple is that? So simple that it is a real challenge, especially in today's divided society. We have evil influences all around us, many of which the world would say is not "evil." But the amount of violence we experience is vile. The amount of vitriol we spew all over the internet and mainstream media is absurd. Divine Mercy is a reminder of our responsibility to the immortal soul that dwells in us. By us, I mean you and your spouse -if you have one, your kids -if you have them, and your dearest friends -which you hopefully have many!
Peace is not about a lack of conflict. Peace is the way we conduct ourselves in our day to day life. You and I flip between good and evil every minute of every day. Peace boils down to striving to make the good happen more often. Christ gave us the path. We are obligated to choose how we stay on or fall off of it. Thanks for reading,