April 8, 2018

Divine Mercy

April 8, 2018:  Second Sunday of Easter = Divine Mercy Sunday

See 17 connections with today?
Legend below
Listen

Pope Francis homily
Today's gospel keeps repeating the verb “to see,” but it doesn't describe how the disciples saw the Lord.  By saying “he showed them his hands and his side,” it tells us they recognized Jesus through his wounds.  Thomas wanted to see inside, to touch the Lord’s wounds, the signs of his love.  This is how Thomas is our twin, because often we need to know God exists rather than taking others’ word.  We need to ‘see God,’ touch him with our hands, know he's risen for us.
It's by seeing Jesus’ wounds that disciples of all time know we've been forgiven; we contemplate the boundless love flowing from his heart, a heart that beats for each person. When Thomas touched the Lord’s wounds, Jesus became “My Lord and my God.”  The appropriation of God as mine is a love story; the uncertain, wavering disciple falls in love with the Lord:  “You became man, died, and rose for me, so you're not only God; you're my God, my life.  In you I've found the love I was looking for, more than I could have imagined.”
We can begin to savor this love through the gift Jesus granted on the evening of his Resurrection:  forgiveness of sins.  Before forgiveness we may hide behind the doors of shame, resignation, and sin, but grace helps us understand shame as the first step towards an encounter and a secret invitation to overcome evil.
Resignation tempts us to believe nothing changes when we lapse, like the disheartened disciples after their ‘Jesus chapter’ seemed finished.  At a certain point, we discover life is to receive God’s forgiveness and go forward from forgiveness to forgiveness.
The last door to open is sin.  Jesus loves to enter through closed doors, when every entrance seems barred.  When we go to confession, we learn that the sin that separates us from God becomes the place we encounter him, where the God wounded by love meets our wounds.
Read
  • Acts 4:32-35:  The believers were of one heart and mind and held everything in common.  The apostles bore witness to the resurrection with power.  Those who owned property sold them and put the proceeds at the apostles' feet to be distributed according to need.
  • 1 Jn 5:1-6  Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one begotten by him.  We know we love God's children when we love God and obey his commandments, for the love of God is keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.  Whoever is begotten by God conquers the world, and the victory that conquers the world is our faith.  The one who believes Jesus is the Son of God is victor over the world.  Jesus Christ came through water and blood.  The Spirit testifies, and the Spirit is truth.


  • Jn 20:19-31  Jesus came to the disciples, said “Peace be with you,” and showed them his hands and side; they rejoiced.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you.  Receive the Holy Spirit; forgive sins....”  They told Thomas (who wasn't there), “We've seen the Lord.” / "Unless I put my finger into his nail marks and hand into his side, I won't believe.”  Jesus returned a week later when Thomas was there, said, “Peace be with you,” then told Thomas, “Put your finger here, see my hands, put your hand into my side, and believe.”  Thomas:  “My Lord and God!” / “You believe because you've seen?  Blessed those who haven't seen and have believed.”  Jesus did many other signs, but these are written so you may believe Jesus is Christ and Son of God, and you may have life.
Reflect
  • Creighton:  Let's give "Doubting Thomas" the benefit of the doubt; he knew Jesus as a man.  We all doubt:  our ability, our worth, our loved ones, our beliefs.  But we can believe in Jesus' crucifixion, resurrection, and presence in our lives.  And if we believe in that, we have to erase the doubt about ourselves and others. God’s mercy compels us to act, forgive, console, and help. Acting with mercy compels us to overcome doubt.  I can help, contribute, and I can see God in others and myself.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "As good a witness as I want to be":  Many ignore, deny, or ridicule Jesus' resurrection.  The Holy Spirit, Power, will give us power if we obey him.  Traditionally, the Holy Spirit has given power through communal commands, commanding us to devote ourselves to communal life, accept his grace to be of one mind and heart, hold things in common, and give.  Obey the Spirit; receive power.
  • Passionist:  Peace in our lives and communion with each other take on deep significance when meditating on Jesus' resurrection; they're both signs of his presence.  Jesus always proclaims "Peace" in resurrection accounts, denoting wholeness, completeness.  See moments of peace in your life as signs of the presence of Jesus, bearer of peace.  God wants for us peace, calmness of being, absence of fear, divine presence.  Every peaceful moment is grace, God's gift to us, indicative of his nearness.
Thomas, perhaps unintentionally, serves as our guide to the importance of relationship with the beliving community.  He tried, by himself, to reason his way to faith.  Absent when the risen Christ visited, he didn't believe the others' witness till he stood among them.  We nourish each other by our common faith; the witness of each of us is important.  Together we can inspire and protect the faith we bear, especially in times of uncertainty, and become a new source, a new sign, of Jesus’ presence.  Treasure the peace in your heart; it reflects Jesus' closeness and can inspire courage and forgiveness.  Treasure the community; it's a source of strength and a way to encounter Jesus.
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Unless I see , I won't believe":  The Risen Lord revealed his glory to his disciples gradually.  Even after they saw the tomb and heard about his appearance to the women, they were weak in faith and afraid of arrest.  When he appeared to them, he showed them his wounds, calmed their fears, brought them peace, and commissioned them to proclaim the good news.  His sending of the disciples is parallel to the Father's sending him.  Jesus fulfilled his mission through his love of and obedience to the Father.  He calls us to do the same and gives us the Spirit to equip us with life, power, joy, and courage.  Thomas was a pessimist:  when Jesus proposed they visit Lazarus, Thomas said,  "Let's go too and die with him."  He loved the Lord but lacked courage to stand with him in his passion.  After Jesus died, Thomas withdrew and doubted the women and his fellow apostles who saw the Risen Lord.  Through faith we recognize the Lord:  when Thomas finally rejoined the others, the Lord reassured him he'd risen, and Thomas confessed Jesus as Lord and God.  Through faith we too proclaim Jesus as our Lord and God....
      The incredulity of St. Thomas/ Caravaggio
    • Universalis:  Pope John Paul II at Sr. Faustina Kowalska's canonization:  Jesus told Sr. Faustina: “Humanity won't find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy.”  The future holds progress and pain, but divine mercy will illumine the way.  The path of mercy reestablishes our relationship with God and creates solidarity among people.  We experience God's mercy and are called to practice mercy towards others.  He showed many paths of mercy, forgiveness, and reaching out; he bent over every poverty, material and spiritual.  We learn to give ourself in love only by penetrating God’s love; then we can look others with unselfishness, solidarity, generosity, and forgiveness.  “I feel pain when I see my neighbors suffer; I carry their anguish, and it destroys me.  I want their sorrows to fall on me, to relieve them” (Sr. Faustina).  This love must inspire humanity, if we're to face our challenges and defend the dignity of every person.  The message of divine mercy is a message about the value of every person, for whom Christ gave his life and the Father gives his Spirit and offers intimacy.  This message is addressed to those who have lost confidence and are tempted to despair.  Christ offers them his face, shows them the way, and fills them with hope.  “Jesus, I trust in you.”
    Dress legend
    • 'Money bag' tie pin, 'feet' pin:  Property owners would sell and for those who owned property or houses would sell them and put the proceeds at the apostles' feet (1st reading)
    • 'Stone' tie pin:  The stone the builders rejected became the cornerstone (psalm)
    • 'Eyeball' pin:  It's wonderful in our eyes (psalm); "we have seen the Lord"; "blessed those who haven't seen and have believed" (gospel)
    • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  “Peace be with you!” (gospel)
    • 'Heart' and "Boundless mercy" (from Congress 2016) pins:  "The community was of one heart and mind" (1st reading); the Lord's love is everlasting (psalm); Divine Mercy Sunday
    • 'Blood drop' pin:  Jesus Christ came by water and blood (2nd reading)
    • 'World's Fair' suspenders with globe (showing oceans):  Those begotten by God conquer the world (2nd reading); Jesus came through water and blood (also 2nd reading)
    • 'Hands' tie:  Jesus showed them his hands; "unless I put my hand into his side"; "see my hands, and put your hand into my side" (gospel)
    • 'Dove' pin:  "The Spirit, truth, testifies" (2nd reading); "receive the Holy Spirit" (gospel)
    • 'Key' tie pin:  the doors were locked (gospel)
    • 'Nail' tie pin:  "Unless I see the nail marks... I won't believe" (gospel)
    • White shirt and socks:  Color of Easter day and season