Brett Fawcett


Divine Mercy Sunday – April 12, 2015
Acts 4.32-35 | Psalm 118 | 1 John 5.1-6 | John 20.19-31
April 6, 2015

Every moral injunction in the New Testament should also be seen as a description of the character of Jesus Christ. Not only is the Christian moral life the imitation of Christ, it is also a journey of discovery about who Jesus really is.

The more we grow morally, grow spiritually, grow in grace, the more we learn about Jesus Christ, precisely because we observe ourselves becoming more like him.

Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? – 1 John 5.5


'Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?'

1 John 5.5

This is the dazzling truth that St. John tries to urge upon us in the Second Reading today. "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God."

Our faith in the Son of God has made us children of God. We are conformed to Jesus' sonship. We are now a part of a family, and this means we need to love others as if they were our brothers and sisters.

"Everyone who loves the parent loves the child," John explains. If we love God, not as slaves submitting to their master but as children lovingly submitting to a parent, we will have a newfound love for the human race, created in the image of God, and uniquely for the Christian community, adopted by God in Baptism.

This is easy to nod approvingly at. Who doesn't appreciate the noble sentiment that "all men are brothers"? But this can't be good enough for us. Many tyrants have shed much innocent blood in the name of "the brotherhood of man."

We have to be told, concretely, what it means to treat the human race as family. This is where we must turn to Jesus, who comes in and shows us.

Here we must look at the Divine Mercy image. Here we see what it means to love God's family as one of his children – to utterly give our lives for and to each other.

This has always been the way Jesus has loved God's family: Even in eternity, the Holy Trinity consists in the three persons endlessly and lovingly giving life to each other. (John alludes to this at the end of today's reading.)

Hans Urs Von Balthasar called this the perfect poverty of the Trinity. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit hold nothing back from each other, just as Jesus holds nothing back from us.

Indeed, in today's Gospel, Jesus invites the Apostles into that eternal exchange of divine life when he gives them the Holy Spirit – he breathes it upon them, giving them his life.

Here the Church became a mirror of the Trinity, a family in which everyone gives themselves fully to each other, as seen in today's First Reading from Acts: "Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common."

Does this mean every Christian must now give away all their property? Not all of it – just whatever is getting in the way of a Christ-like love.