2nd Sunday of Easter.
CHRIST GIVES HIS MISSION AND POWER TO THE APOSTLES.
THE ONE AND ONLY TRUE CHURCH OF CHRIST.
- “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
- The Apostles carry out extraordinary and prodigious signs as narrated in the 1streading (Acts 5:12–16)
- Jesus’ triumph over life and death is the greatest event which keeps the Church’s faith and hope efficient.
The Easter Octave has just concluded. The Church’s liturgy provided us to live with intense joy Christ’s Resurrection. From now on, throughout the Easter season, our Mother Church in her liturgy will unveil in our conscience the Mystery of the Resurrected Christ and of His Church into which we are incorporated through Baptism. We have to be responsible of these sacred realities in our personal life and in the history of salvation.
Today’s Mass readings show us how Christ’s Resurrection transformed the life of those who believe in Him.
1. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
The Gospel narrates how Our Lord appeared to the Apostles. Their sorrow and fear were transformed into joy. But most importantly, JESUS TRANSFERRED HIS OWN MISSION AND MANDATE WHICH HE RECEIVED FROM THE FATHER TO THE APOSTLES, AND CONFERRED THEM THE POWER TO CARRY OUT HIS SALVIFIC MISSION. Jesus breathed on them and gave them the Holy Spirit and the power to forgive and retain sins.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” -Jn 20:21-23
- The Navarre Bible Commentary explains that with these words, Our Lord has once more WANTED IN AN EXPLICIT WAY TO FOUND HIS CHURCH WITH THE APOSTLES AS THE FOUNDATION and states: Pope Leo XIII explained how Christ transferred his own mission to the Apostles: “What did he wish in regard to the Church founded, or about to be founded? This: to transmit to it the same mission and the same mandate which he had received from the Father, that they should be perpetuated. This he clearly resolved to do: this he actually did. ‘As the Father hath sent me, even so I send you’ (Jn 20:21). ‘As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world’ (Jn 17:18)… When about to ascend into heaven he sends his Apostles in virtue of the same power by which he had been sent from the Father; and he charges them to spread abroad and propagate his teachings (cf. Mt 28:18), so that those obeying the Apostles might be saved, and those disobeying should perish (cf. Mk 16:16)… HENCE HE COMMANDS THAT THE TEACHING OF THE APOSTLES SHOULD BE RELIGIOUSLY ACCEPTED AND PIOUSLY KEPT AS IF IT WERE HIS OWN: ‘HE WHO HEARS YOU HEARS ME, AND HE WHO REJECTS YOU REJECTS ME’ (Lk 10:16). Wherefore the Apostles are ambassadors of Christ as he is the ambassador of the Father” (Leo XIII, Satis cognitum). In this mission the bishops are the successors of the Apostles: “CHRIST SENT THE APOSTLES AS HE HIMSELF HAD BEEN SENT BY THE FATHER, AND THEN THROUGH THE APOSTLES MADE THEIR SUCCESSORS, THE BISHOPS, SHARERS IN HIS CONSECRATION AND MISSION. The function of the bishops’ ministry was handed over in a subordinate degree to priests so that they might be appointed in the order of the priesthood and be co-workers of the episcopal order for the proper fulfilment of the apostolic mission that had been entrusted to it by Christ” (Vatican II, Presbyterorum ordinis, 2).
- The Church has always understood — and has in fact defined — that JESUS CHRIST HERE CONFERRED ON THE APOSTLES AUTHORITY TO FORGIVE SINS, A POWER WHICH IS EXERCISED IN THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE. “The Lord then especially instituted the sacrament of Penance when, after being risen from the dead, he breathed upon his disciples and said: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit….’. The consensus of all the Fathers has always acknowledged that by this action so sublime and words so clear the power of forgiving and retaining sins was given to the Apostles and their lawful successors for reconciling the faithful who have fallen after Baptism” (Council of Trent, De Paenitentia, chap. 1).
- From now on, the Apostles and their successors will carry out Christ’s mandate and salvific mission, while receiving as well the Grace Himself −the Holy Spirit− which is the fruit of Christ’s Paschal triumph.
Many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles…Yet more than ever, believers in the Lord, great numbers of men and women, were added to them. Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them. A large number of people from the towns in the vicinity of Jerusalem also gathered, bringing the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits, and they were all cured.
3. Jesus’ triumph over life and death is the greatest event which keeps the Church’s faith and hope efficient.
In the 2nd Reading (Rev 1: 9-13,17-19), John saw in his visión the Resurrected Christ who “touched me with his right hand and said, ‘Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the netherworld.’”
- Jesus’ triumph over life and death is the greatest event which keeps the Church’s faith and hope efficient. Christ’s Resurrection is the security, the infallible proof of our hope and the firm foundation of our faith, the surest guarantee that we have been redeemed and are called to eternal life. He was dead but he resurrected to be our life and our intercessor before the Father.
Dear friends in Christ, it is clear that THE TRUE CHURCH FOUNDED BY CHRIST IS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WHICH HAS AS HER FOUNDATION CHRIST’S APOSTLES WHO RECEIVED FROM HIM THE MANDATE AND THE POWER AS WELL.
BY VIRTUE OF OUR BAPTISM, WE ARE ALSO CALLED TO THE SAME APOSTOLIC MISSION: “As the Father sent me, so I send you.” We are called to be witnesses of Christ’s Resurrection right there where God has placed us. Love leads one to want what the Beloved wants. And what does Our Lord want? “Follow me and I shall make you fishers of men!” SOULS! Let us then with our prayers, sacrifices, friendship, advice, good example and zeal, gain souls for Christ, convinced that the power and the grace −the Holy Spirit− to carry out the apostolic mission inhabits in our soul in the state of grace.
Let us also thank God for His abundant mercy, instituting the Sacrament of Confession, of Divine Mercy, by loving this indispensable source of grace, mercy, love and forgiveness, necessary if we are to reach the ultimate goal of our existence: the everlasting union with God, the Most Holy Trinity.
God of ever-living mercy, who, in the very recurrence of the paschal feast, kindle the faith of the people you have made your own, increase, we pray, the grace you have bestowed, that all may grasp and rightly understand in whose font they have been washed, by whose Spirit they have been reborn, through whose Blood they have been redeemed (Opening prayer).
Holy Mary, Daughter of God the Father, Mother of God the Son, Spouse of God the Holy Spirit, Mother of the Church, pray for us your children!
ORIGINAL PHOTO SOURCE: Duccio Di Buoninsegna, “Appearence Behind Locked Doors” in http://zaol.hu/data/cikk/171/4744/cikk_1714744/Jezus1_220715_4c_3.jpg