Sunday of Easter
April 23, 2017
Fr. José Maria Alvim Cortes, F.S.C.B.
Sunday Reading Meditations
Today we are celebrating the Second Sunday of Easter. In 2000, John Paul II called this Sunday the Divine Mercy Sunday during Saint Faustina’s canonization. On that occasion, he said: “It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church will be called ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.’”
As we know, John Paul II passed away on the evening of April 2, 2005, the first Saturday of the month and the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday.
The Church is receiving a great joy this Sunday. Pope John Paul II is being beatified! Now we can ask the Pope, whom we admired and loved, for his intercession before God. Now we can venerate him!
Today’s Gospel says that Thomas believed because he saw the risen Jesus. He needed confirmation of his faith.
We also need to confirm our faith. We need Jesus’ presence to conquer our doubts. We need to touch the human reality of Jesus.
Where can we find and touch the signs of Jesus’ Resurrection?
The Gospel says: “Jesus did many others signs” (Jn 20:30). Jesus continues doing innumerable signs. The most important of Jesus’ signs is sainthood. The saints are the greatest proof of Jesus’ Resurrection, that he is alive. Holiness shows us that God is at work.
We are the generation that had the privilege of seeing John Paul II. Looking at him, we could learn the love of Jesus. Today I remember the moments when I saw the Pope in person. It was always in crowds. However, I had the feeling that he was speaking directly to me. In Fatima, Santiago de Compostela, Czestochowa, Rome and Lisbon, the sensation was the same: I was before a man who wanted to share his relationship with Christ with me, with all the people who were there with me. I especially remember when he came to Fatima in 2000 for the beatification of the little shepherds, Francisco and Jacinta. When the Pope arrived, there was an enthusiastic crowd of a half million. After greeting people, he went to the chapel in the middle of the shrine, knelt before the statue of Our Lady and remained in silent prayer for 30 minutes. The entire crowd knelt with the Pope and remained with him in prayer. I have never seen anything like it! It is a moment that I will always remember. I think that what happened is symbolic of his whole pontificate, his mission.
There were two things that always struck me about John Paul II: his faith and his humanity. Looking at him, we saw someone who was very close to Jesus. His love of Jesus was so visible! At the same time, he was very close to us. He was profoundly human and normal.
Through John Paul II, we could see that we become more human and happy when we live our faith fully. This is something attractive, something that everyone should desire. To be a saint is to be human, to represent the pure essence of humanity.
 John Paul II, Homily for the Mass for the Canonization of Sr. Mary Faustina Kowalska, Saint Peter’s Square, April 30, 2000.