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By Bishop Larry Silva
April 23, 2017
Second Sunday of Easter (Sunday of Divine Mercy), Year A
[Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace (Confirmation/First Communion)]
Wouldn't we be amazed if Jesus stood right here before us in this room? If we could touch the wounds in his hands and put our hand into his wounded side? We would be thrilled to see him standing before us, risen from the dead.
But the fact is that he is here among us right now. We do not see him with our eyes, but “happy are those who have not seen yet believe.”
When he appeared to his apostles in that locked room in Jerusalem, we might think he would first scold them for abandoning him and denying him at his greatest hour of need. That is what we normally expect when we have done wrong. Yet his first words to them are, “Peace be with you!” – and he says them again! So it is that he is here among us who have our faults and our sins, and in his merciful love, he says to us, “Peace be with you!”
Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Isn’t that exactly what he is doing here as he breathes the Holy Spirit out upon our brothers and sisters who will receive the sacrament of Confirmation today? He anoints them with his own Spirit of love, so that his life-breath can enliven them.
And then, just as he was so present to his apostles that they could even touch his wounds, if they wanted to, he will soon be physically present to us, allowing us to physically take into ourselves his own Body and Blood, so that he can embrace us and make us his own. We can touch his wounds in the sick and heal them; in the poor as we bring them good news; and in the oppressed as we help to set them free.
Then, just as he did centuries ago that first Easter night, he says to each of us, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Once he embraces us with his Body, we become parts of the risen Body of Christ, so that we can be his presence in our families, our schools, our places of work, and our communities.
What happened that first Easter night is happening right here today among us. We may not see it with our eyes, but “happy are those who have not seen, yet believe!”