• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Thursday, 25 April 2019 18:53

Second Sunday of Easter – 2019

Written by Fr Larry Nemer SVD

 

Second Sunday of Easter 

Fr Larry Nemer SVD 150For more than 1500 years the first Sunday after Easter had been known in the Liturgical Books as “Sunday in White Garments -- Dominica in Albis”. Exactly when the tradition started is not known, but it does come from the earliest period in the Church’s History. For the most part for the first 300 years of Christian history the converts were adults. At their baptism they took off their old clothes, descended into the water and were submerged, and when they came out of the water they were given a white garment and wore this throughout the week. On the Sunday after Easter not only the newly baptised were invited to appear at the Eucharist in their baptismal dress, but all the baptised were invited to come dressed in their white garment. This was to remind them of and to celebrate the two great gifts that were given them in baptism -- participation in God’s eternal life and guidance and support of the Holy Spirit.

On this Sunday after Easter we too are invited to celebrate our faith in the Risen Lord and the gifts that we received in our baptism. Reading between the lines of the gospel today we can see that it was not easy for the disciples to accept the fact that Jesus had risen from the dead. He had a different kind of body (one that could pass through doors) and yet was the same man they knew who had a real body (as shown by the wounds in His hands and side and by being able to eat food) even if they could not always immediately recognise Him. The Acts of the Apostles tells us that even at the time of His ascension into heaven not all the disciples believed in His resurrection. The fact that He rose from the dead we can believe but we cannot prove. We trust those who witnessed the Risen Lord.

One of the two gifts given to us in baptism was a participation in God’s eternal life. Christ had conquered sin and death. As St Paul said in his letter to the Corinthians: death where is your victory? Death where is your sting? For Christians death is not the end of life. As we say in the Preface at funerals: life is changed not ended.

What this meant was brought home to me when I was still a young priest. I was studying French in Grenoble. In my class were two Jewish girls from Sweden. They spoke English very well and so during the break we would go to a patisserie for some cake and coffee. I discovered that they did not know much about their Jewish faith and so I would instruct them in it. At one point, one of the girls, Lillian (I can still remember her name 68 years later!) asked: “but what is different about you Christians?” I briefly explained that we believed that Jesus was not just a prophet but the Son of God and by his death and resurrection he won for us participation in His own eternal life. “You see,” I said, “I believe that I, Larry, had a start in life, but I, Larry, will never stop living.” She asked if she as a Jew could believe that, and I told her there were Jews who believed in eternal life. She thought for a while and then said: “No, that is too beautiful to be true.” When I returned to the presbytery that afternoon I said to the parish priest: “Robert, do you know I am going to live forever?” He looked at me at first as if I had gone crazy, but then he smiled and said: “yes, that is what we believe”. I had never before put my name on this gift that had been given to me in baptism.

The other great gift that was given to us in baptism was the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus gave this gift to His disciples the evening He rose from the dead. The Spirit is a gift that stays with us throughout our life. We are never left alone by God. I once had a funeral for a fellow-AA member and her daughter wanted to read at the funeral the poem: Footprints in the Sand. I think that well-known poem which encapsulates Jesus’ carrying us in his merciful, loving arms, especially at the hardest times in our life, expresses so well the gift of the Spirit that is given to us in baptism.