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Bishop's Homily for the Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday)

April 7, 2024

[Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, Honolulu (Confirmation & First Communion)]

What a wonderful day this is, the day of your Confirmation and First Holy Communion!  We hope it will be a day you remember for the rest of your lives.  You may forget my name or even where this all took place, but we hope you will never forget this wonderful day on which God pours out his love upon you in a special way.

When you talk about this to your friends at school or maybe to distant relatives who visit, maybe you will tell them about what you wore, who was your godparent, the wonderful party you had afterwards, or the gifts you receive on this occasion.  Those are all good.  But I hope you will tell them how wonderful it was to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to have the risen Jesus come into your own body and your own heart.  If you forget all those other things that make this day such a special day for you, I pray you will never forget the heart of it all: your physical encounter with the risen Jesus.  And I hope that is the main message you share with your friends.

What happened long ago and far away on that first Easter day is exactly what is happening here today.  The risen Jesus is not just someone who is a person from the history books, but he is really and truly present with you today in an intimate and holy communion.  Just as he appeared physically to the apostles, who also thought he was history, and brought them such joy, so may you know his presence with you today and every day you receive him in the Eucharist.  May you hear over and over again his loving message, “Peace be with you!”  May you, like those first apostles, tell about your encounter with him to anyone who has not yet experienced him.  This is what they did to Thomas, who was not with them when Jesus appeared.  Even though they told him about seeing Jesus alive, speaking with such joy and conviction, he did not believe them.  Do not expect that everyone will believe you right away either.  It might take them a while, but in his own time, Jesus can appear to them, too, and you will have opened the door of their locked hearts so that they will know him and embrace him, just as you do today.

It is important that you realize that what we heard in the Gospel today is what Jesus is doing today, right here.  You just heard his Word, speaking to you in the Scriptures.  In a moment, he will be physically present under the appearance of bread and wine, but it will be his own Body and Blood, present right here with us today.  But he does not just stay on the altar, he will enter into you, so that he can tell you how much he loves you!  And as he breathed out the Holy Spirit on his apostles, he does the same for you today when you are anointed with Chrism in the sacrament of Confirmation, so that the Holy Spirit can set you on fire with his love.

This is why we need you to be here every Sunday for Mass, and more often, if possible.  So that the living, risen Jesus can be physically in you, and so that through you, Jesus can be present in your home, your school, and wherever you go.

Jesus is alive, and he is here with us now.  May he always be with you in this intimate and holy communion with him!