The Eighth Day

(Homily for the Second Sunday of Easter - Divine Mercy Sunday)

Bottom line: During these eight days (which the Church views as a single day) we reflect on one event: the resurrection of Christ - and the Divine Mercy that flows from him.

Today is the Second Sunday of Easter - also known as Mercy Sunday. The Church looks at these eight days - from Easter Sunday until today - as if they were one single day. We reflect on a single event: resurrection of Christ. The resurrection, as Pope Benedict said, is "the core of Christianity, the bedrock of our faith, the powerful lever of our certainties, the great wind that blows away all fear and indecision, all doubt and human calculation." He went on to affirm: "Only from God can the decisive change of the world come. Only by going back to the Resurrection can the true nature of the Church and of her witness be understood."

Faith in the resurrection unites us with all Christians. At the end this homily, I will quote from two great Protestant theologians, but before doing so I want to mention a special blessing we have this today: the presence of Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. He will preach at two of our English and one of our Spanish Masses. Then, this afternoon he will lead the the Hour of Mercy prayers before the Planned Parenthood abortion mill on Madison Street. Bishop Eusebio Elizondo will also be there to give the opening prayer and final blessing.

At the Hour of Mercy, Fr. Pavone will lead the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.* It is a powerful pro-life prayer. Pope John Paul II asked us to offer the Divine Mercy prayers for "mothers, that they not abort their offspring; for infants in danger of being put to death in the womb; for a change of heart of providers of abortions and of their collaborators; for human victims of embryonic stem cell research, genetic manipulation, cloning and euthanasia; and for all entrusted with the government of peoples, that they may promote the Culture of Life, so as to put an end to the culture of death."

So on this "eighth day" (which is really part of one single Easter day) we ask our Risen Lord to pour out his Divine Mercy upon us - and upon all our brothers and sisters, especially those wounded by abortion. We often feel powerless in face of the growing culture of death, but we know that because of his resurrection, in the end the culture of life will triumph. So, in conclusion, I would like to share quotes from two Protestant theologians regarding the Resurrection.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who I quoted in my Good Friday and Easter Sunday homilies, said: "In the incarnation we recognize God's love for his creation, in the crucifixion God's judgment over all flesh, and the resurrection God's will to a new world." Bonhoeffer - like many Protestant ministers and Catholic priests - was imprisoned by the Nazis. While in jail, he wrote:

'Socrates mastered the art of dying; Christ overcame death as 'the last enemy' (1 Cor. 15:26). There is a real difference between the two things; the one is within the scope of human possibilities, the other means resurrection. It is not from ars moriendi, the art of dying, but from the resurrection of Christ that a new and purifying wind can blow through our present world. If a few people really believed that and acted on it in their daily lives, a great deal would be changed. To live in the light of the Resurrection - that is what Easter means."

Finally I would like to quote a second Protestant theologian who expressed the matter very directly. Wolfhart Pannenberg wrote something that we could all reflect on this Easter day: "The evidence for Jesus' resurrection is so strong that nobody would question it except for two things: First, it is a very unusual event. And second, if you believe it happened, you have to change the way you live."


*Program for Hour of Mercy:

Opening Prayer - Bishop Eusebio Elizondo
Chaplet of Divine Mercy - Fr. Frank Pavone
Creed & Opening Prayers of Rosary - Ed Sauley & Youth from Show the Truth
First Glorious Mystery - Fr. Stephen Okumu, Priest Administator of St. Therese Parish, Seattle
Second Glorious Mystery - Christine de Goede, 40 Days for Life
Third Glorious Mystery - Deacon Abel Magana (in Spanish)
Fourth Glorious Mystery - Cliff Macaraeg, University of Washington
Fifth Glorious Mystery - Mark Shea, Author of Mary, Mother of the Son
Litany - Matt Ulrich, Helpers of God's Precious Infants
Words of Encouragement - Fr. Frank Pavone
Final Blessing - Bishop Eusebio Elizondo
(Fr. Pavone will be available for interviews with local media after the Hour of Mercy prayers)

Intercessions for Second Sunday of Easter (from Priests for Life)

Spanish Version

From Archives:

2014 Homily: Journey to Hope Week 2
2013: Overcoming Fear - A Titanic Hero
2012: Divine Mercy in a Time of Crisis
2011: His Mercy Endures
2010: Believing Is Seeing
2009: The Eighth Day
2008: Reconciliation
2007: A Drop in the Ocean
2006: Mercy in Action
2005: The Grandeur of God
2004: God Loves Honest Skeptics
2003: The Truth Is Out There
2002: Divine Mercy
2001: Doubting The Doubts
2000: A Requisite for Faith
1999: Neither Gullible nor Rigid
1998: Be Not Afraid!
1997: Room for Doubt

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