Church of the

7580 Clinton Street
Elma, New York 14059


April 16, 2023

2nd Sunday of Easter

We are familiar with the beatitudes or blessings of Jesus in the Gospels, for example: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy,” Matthew 5:7. Today in the Gospel according to St. John, we hear a last beatitude from Jesus, the Risen Lord, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Jesus is speaking to Thomas and the disciples huddled together behind locked doors in fear and doubt. Jesus breaks through their physical, psychological, and emotional defenses to reveal himself. He does not confront them with an accusation of their betrayal and abandonment but with a greeting and gift of peace. “Peace be with you.” The Risen Lord shows them the marks of his crucifixion.  He then breathes on them and bids them “receive the Holy Spirit” for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus, the Risen Lord, speaks this beatitude to the original eyewitnesses and to future generations of believers, to all of us, who have not seen Jesus in his resurrected or spiritual body but have come to believe in him.

It is a fundamental question we need to ask ourselves, “How do we come to enjoy the blessing of belief if we have not seen the resurrected Christ?” St. Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles, our 1st Reading, tells us how the community comes to believe without seeing the Risen Lord: by the teaching and preaching of the apostles; by their communal life of caring; by praying together at the Temple and by the breaking of the bread in their homes; and by “the Lord adding to their number those who are to be saved.” St. Luke is referring to Baptism. Our faith community was blessed at Easter with the addition and baptism of two new members: Dixie Andrews, an adult, and Perry Isle, a baby girl.  

Throughout the Gospel of John, the evangelist stresses: “seeing is believing.” At the beginning of his public ministry, Jesus invites his first two would be disciples, “Come and see!” It is a recurring theme. But here near the end of the Gospel in chapter 20, Jesus seems to reverse the order, “Believing is seeing.” When we come to believe in the resurrection of Jesus, our eyes are open to see the hidden Christ in ways, in events, in places and in people where his presence is unexpected. As we live our baptismal faith in the resurrection, we begin to see and to touch the crucified and risen One in our world today.

On Thursday, I visited a parishioner at the Sloan Comfort Care Home. Deacon Dave Clabeaux, when he was Pastoral Administrator of St. Andrew Church, in Sloan, was instrumental in offering an available church building as the site of the Comfort Care Home – a Community Home for the Dying. The non-profit organization offers an alternative for hospitalized patients, who do not wish to die in an institution, or for people, for a multitude of reasons, cannot receive end-of-life care at home. The elderly gentleman I visited remarked, “I am glad to be here.” He was looking forward to his wife visiting in the afternoon. Jesus did not appear to me at the Comfort Care Home but I left with a sense of God’s blessing, with inner peace and hope.

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday – established by Saint Pope John Paul II and inspired by Saint Faustina, a Polish Nun and mystic. She had a vision of God’s mercy streaming from the pierced side of Christ. When we are recipients of and instruments of the grace of kindness and mercy, the beatitude of Jesus comes true, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

Easter Sunday

3rd Sunday of Easter


Stewardship is having the wisdom to understand that everything we have is a gift from God.

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