The One who Lives
(2nd Sunday of Easter: Acts 5:12-16; Revelation 1:9-19; John 20:19-31)
Scholars generally agree that John, the author of the fourth Gospel, also wrote Revelation. In both, Jesus often uses the phrase “I am” in a way that is reminiscent of God’s words to Moses, which we read not long ago: “I AM WHO AM.”
We have an example in today’s reading from Revelation: “I am the first and the last, the one who lives.” Jesus gives himself important names, describing who he is in his very being. He goes on to say that he is “alive forever and ever”—an even more emphatic version of his words at the Last Supper, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.”
Then we read a mysterious saying, “I hold the keys to death and the netherworld.” It seems to combine the notions of power and judgment, such as we find at La Salette when Mary speaks of “the arm of my Son.”
The Beautiful Lady’s words are subject to various interpretations, but taken in the context of other parts of her discourse, such as: “If I want my Son not to abandon you,” and “I warned you last year with the potatoes,” it is hard not to accept the traditional reading.
But today is Divine Mercy Sunday. You have seen the image, with rays emanating from Jesus’ heart. In our La Salette context we have often noted that the light of the Apparition came from the crucifix which Mary bore on her breast. The great news she came to deliver comes from that cross. La Salette is a merciful apparition.
Jesus, the one who lives, breathes on us as he did on the Apostles in today’s Gospel. To them and their successors he gave special power and judgment to forgive or retain sins. To us he gives our charism of reconciliation, which shines forth with special brilliance on this day.
Forgiveness is the goal, freely offered to all who will choose to submit to the divine will and change their lives accordingly. It was among the “signs and wonders” mentioned in the first reading.
We haven’t forgotten the doubting Thomas. Let us stand with him and the other Apostles as we gratefully and lovingly accept Jesus’ greeting: “Peace be with you.”
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.