Second Sunday of Easter (or Sunday of Divine Mercy) 2013

Our good friend St. Thomas always gets bad press the Sunday after Easter.  We are always focusing in on his doubts.  We often think that he was the only one who did not believe that the Lord had risen from the dead. The fact is that most of the disciples doubted the Lord’s resurrection until they experienced His presence. Only John appears to have believed the Lord had risen before he ever encountered the Risen Lord[1].

When Jesus appeared that day He came to the disciples in the same Upper Room where they had celebrated the Passover the Thursday before. The door was locked. Why? Well, easy: The disciples were afraid, frightened to be exact. Jesus had just been killed; would the same thing happen to them? In their fear, they began doubting the Lord.  Maybe He was just a wonderful, powerful prophet, but nothing more. And then He appeared to them. That’s when they realized that this was more than just a new message, a new prophecy. Jesus Himself was the message. He was the Son of God. His Gospel had power, the Power of God.

Thomas was not there. He doubted the other disciples’ story. He even doubted the word of the Lord, who had said He’d rise again. When he saw Jesus, Thomas’ reaction was the same of the other disciples, best expressed in his statement, my Lord and My God[2]. Jesus Christ is Lord and God.  There is no need to be afraid.

This is true also for us. We are often afraid. This is normal, part of our human condition. Beneath the fear there is doubt. Will God really take care of me and my family? Does He really care? Does He really exist?

We go through periods of joy and periods of stress. We are confronted with death, sickness, unemployment, actions of others that disappoint us, and our own actions that upset us. There is stress in relationships.  And we wonder about God. “Where is He?” we ask. And, yes, like Thomas and the others, there are still times that we are afraid, that we question, that we doubt.

Our Loving Lord knows and understands.  He was one of us.  Jesus knows what it is like to be afraid. He was afraid in the Garden of Olives.  He sweats blood. But He also trusted in the Power of His Father and our Father and did not let these fears change His determination to do the will of the Father.  He sees us when we are afraid. He understands. He also gives us the ability to get up from our fears and do the right thing. This is Divine Mercy Sunday. The rays that come from the heart of Jesus remind us of the blood and water that came from His heart. The blood destroys the power that evil has over us. The water revives us through baptism.

He sees, He knows, He understands. Yes, it is human to be afraid.  And it is human to doubt. Perhaps we feel horrible for doubting Him.  His mercy and compassion are stronger than our doubts.

No matter what we are facing in life today, or will face tomorrow, joy or challenge, we look to Jesus; we remember His mercy and compassion, and we join Thomas in saying, my Lord and My God

[1] Sunday 7th April, 2013,  2nd Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday. W. Acts 5:12-16. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting - Ps 117(118):2-4, 22-27. Apocalypse 1:9-13, 17-19. John 20:19-31 [St John Baptist de la Salle].
[2] John 20:28. 

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris