Easter: The Greatness of the Lord’s Mercy

Author: Fr. Paul Ybarra, C.S.C.

Easter Reflection

During this Easter season, in our readings, we hear of the great witness of the apostles to the resurrection of the Lord. They acted with great courage sharing their testimony at the beginnings of the Church. That is, they bravely confessed their faith in Christ Jesus before the courts of the powerful and before the downtrodden and broken, sometimes at the price of their lives.

This group of true believers lived in communion with Christ; all thought and felt the same devotion. Consequently, they shared their material goods. They held everything in common, and no one called anything his own. None went needy, because those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money, and put it at the disposal of the Apostles; they then distributed the wealth according to the needs of all. Religious life and the evangelical counsels came to be. It was simply the Church.

This witness to Christ means an honest and exemplary life, performing our duties for our community and the whole of society.

An authentic Christian is one who believes in Jesus Christ, who loves God, and who does everything for the love of God. A true Christian is anyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ because he was born of God. It is a question of believing in Jesus Christ with living faith as born of God, that is, as a child of God who participates in the divine life by sanctifying grace. A true Christian is one who loves God as a son loves his father. Therefore, do God's will and keep His commandments out of love. Love motivates, shapes, and authenticates the life of the Christian.

Sacrament of Reconciliation

The authentic Christian overcomes every obstacle, the world itself, because they live in communion of life with Christ, because they believe that Jesus is the Son of God because they have been baptized into him with water and spirit and partake of His Body and Blood. Our Lord’s Divine Mercy is made manifest to the Apostles in his appearance on the day of Resurrection and is repeated on the eighth day. In turn, the apostles are to be carriers of that Divine Mercy of the Lord that continues in our Church, through our bishops, priests, deacons, brothers and sisters, we members of Holy Cross, the descendants of that early Church. We receive the Lord's mercy, and we are to communicate it through our very lives.

The apostles felt ashamed for abandoning their Master. So merciful is Christ that he comes to meet them to reconcile and to confirm them in the certainty of the resurrection, showing his wounds. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus will come to meet Thomas eight days later to confirm him in the certainty and joy of the Resurrection, and he will say the most complete statement about Christ: “My Lord and my God.”

The Risen Christ continues to meet each one of us, to offer us the fruits of the resurrection. He gives us the gift of reconciliation. He says to the apostles: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Those whose sins are forgiven, they are forgiven; those who are withheld are retained.”

By virtue of the Resurrection, the Sacrament of Penance raises us to supernatural life in the face of the death of mortal sin and the weakness of venial sin, and strengthens our will to persevere in what is good. It is the Sacrament of Mercy.

We need to approach him often. The risen Christ comes to meet us in the Sacraments, to pluck us from death and offer us peace. If we welcome Him, we will not be afraid. We will overflow with joy. We will be witnesses of the risen Christ in the midst of the world. How great is the Lord's Mercy!

Fr. Paul Ybarra, C.S.C.

Fr. Paul Ybarra, C.S.C., a member of the United States Province of Priests and Brothers, wrote this reflection for the celebration of Easter. Fr. Paul currently serves as Pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish in Portland, Oregon, and he is a member of the Congregation’s Mission Commission.