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Divine Mercy Sunday
April 16, 2023

Watch this homily! (Begins at 44:30)

     The readings for this second of the Easter Sundays are a nice combination of idealism and realism. The description of the earliest Christian community that we heard in the reading from the Acts of the Apostles is so idealistic as to seem implausible if not incredible. The community of believers lived in peace, we are told, and they shared everything in common. Everything! They kept nothing for themselves, they met together daily for prayer and Eucharist, and they witnessed many signs and wonders done by the Apostles. No wonder we are told that the community grew by leaps and bounds!

     The note of realism comes, of course, in the gospel story of doubting Thomas and I dare say that story may ring a bit more true for us than the idyllic one from Acts, we who sometimes find ourselves struggling to hold onto our faith, struggling to believe! But both stories are true and we need both in order to keep our balance as we strive to live as faithful disciples of Christ.

     The ideal Church and the real Church, the Church full of faith and the Church dogged by doubt, the Church eager to listen and the Church bent only on teaching, the Church made one by the Eucharist and the Church divided by controversy, the “imperfectly perfect church” I like to call it - this holy Church of sinners is the Church in which we meet the Risen Jesus as Thomas did: meet him, touch him, and find ourselves touched and transformed by him.

     And, my friends, this holy Church of sinners is the only Church there is. At times we glory in its goodness and at other times we are disheartened by its flaws. In our more enlightened and honest moments we are not surprised by its ups and downs, its glories or its failures because they are our own ups and downs, our own glories and failures. For, as you know, the Church is not some abstract entity hanging out there someplace; it’s not some out-of-touch impersonal institution way off in Rome. No, the Church is people: holy people, sinful people, people weighed down by the spirit of evil, people led by the Spirit of God. People like us! We are the Church and whenever we come together to pray - and to serve - we touch the Divine Mercy that flows so freely to us in the healing grace of the Church’s sacraments, the Divine Mercy that lives, however imperfectly, in all those we serve.

     Dear friends, in just a few moments we will stand to profess our faith. We should be alert to what we say because the Creed, with all its soaring idealism, is our way of saying, along with the all-too-human and doubting Thomas, “My Lord and my God!”

Father Michael G. Ryan





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Seattle, Washington  98104
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