On this Second Sunday of Easter, on this Divine Mercy Sunday, I want to offer two words for you to remember. I’ll say lots of words at Mass this morning, but just two for us to remember today that hopefully will make a difference.
Here they are: “Touch me.” There you have it, touch me.
Today is a very special day, as is every Sunday for every Sunday is a “little Easter.” Yes, every Sunday we gather to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
Every Sunday we reaffirm that Jesus overcame sin and death for us and wants us to share in his divine life forever.
Every Sunday we are reminded of how blessed we are and that Jesus sends us to share that blessing, to announce that blessing to others.
Every Sunday we are reminded and re-established as his disciples, his followers who are sent to share the good news of Jesus’ resurrection.
Today is special for another reason. As you see in our midst, there are some children who today are celebrating their first Holy Communion.
Today, on this Second Sunday of Easter, this Divine Mercy Sunday, after a long preparation with their parents and one another, they will come forward and be one with us at the altar of the Lord Jesus, to be one with us for the first time in receiving Holy Communion. What a special day for them, for their parents and family and for all of us.
“Touch me.” (Go down and begin asking…)
“What is your name?” ______________. “Today, I give you a new name. Your name is Thomas.”
(Repeat this with a number of children and adults.)
Every second Sunday of Easter we hear the same Gospel. Why? Because Holy Mother Church wants us to experience what Thomas did and come to the same faith that Thomas proclaimed, “My Lord and my God.”
But this only happened after Jesus invited Thomas to “touch me.”
“Then Jesus said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.’”
Touch me. Believe in me.
This is what Jesus wants more than anything from us and for us – to believe in him.
Believe that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God.
Believe that Jesus loves us so completely, totally, unconditionally that he gave his very self, his very life for us on the cross so that we might be free from sin and share in his divine life.
Believe that Jesus is mercy itself, the fullness of God’s forgiveness and grace that transforms our lives from fear and confusion, doubt and despair into healing and hope that is victorious in every situation, even if we don’t see it or understand it.
Believe that in every Mass, in every Eucharistic celebration, we share in this once-forever sacrifice of Jesus on the cross
Believe that when we come forward to receive the host, consecrated by the priest through the power of the Holy Spirit, that we come forward to touch him and be touched by him – to receive his very Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity.
Believe that this is REAL, more real than we can ever comprehend.
“Touch me and believe,” Jesus says to each of us today.
“Touch me and believe,” is Jesus’ invitation to each of us today, not only to these children who will receive their first Holy Communion, but most especially to their parents.
Parents, are not your children a most precious gift to you? Would you not pour out yourselves for them, sacrifice for them, give of yourselves for them in ways that you never imagined?
Parents, look at each other and remember all the times that you lost sleep caring for them; that you denied yourself for them; that you answered the same question a hundred times for them?
Reach out now and touch them. Put your arm around them. Hold them close and realize that in touching them, embracing them, Jesus is inviting you to touch him.
My dear parents, Holy Eucharist, Holy Communion, the Mass is a million, bazillion times more real and intimate than this hug.
Please, please never deny your children this experience of Sunday Mass so they can receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.
Parents, if you love your children, and I know you do, even when it is difficult and you feel you’d like to trade them in for a new model, never, never deny them the greatest gift you can give them – Holy Communion.
Parents, Make All Sundays Sacred – MASS. This is where we encounter Jesus inviting us to “Touch me.”
When Jesus was hanging on the cross and he cried, “I thirst,” he was thirsting for your daughter and your son’s soul. He was thirsting that they come to encounter him in Holy Communion, in the sacraments and in the life of the Church so that they would be saved for all eternity.
My dear parents, moms and dads, no one can do this for them but you. Let me repeat that: no one can do this but you.
This is an enormous responsibility but an even more enormous privilege that will please God more than you will ever know until you stand before him when you die.
The reward of being a faithful parent isn’t just today. The real reward is on that is eternal. This is why Jesus invites us over and over again to “touch him” so that we can believe, so that our lives might be alive in ways that we can never fully know here on earth.
Jesus says to each of you children, to you parents and to each of us this Sunday morning, “Touch me and believe.”
Will we accept his invitation?