Jesus offers us his love and mercy, even when we’re doubtful and fearful

| Deacon Bruce Anderson | April 25, 2014 | 0 Comments

IMAGE SHOWS ST. FAUSTINA, JESUS THE DIVINE MERCYDuring the octave of Easter, we continue our joy in the glorious day of the resurrection of our lord and savior Jesus Christ. This Second Sunday of Easter ought to be a time of great happiness as we celebrate the day Jesus Christ overcame sin and death and invited us to share in that victory.

We also celebrate the canonization of two new saints: Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II. In their lives and leadership as popes, they witnessed Easter joy and the hope in mercy that this most high feast celebrates. Even amidst the great uncertainties and doubts of their day, they held fast in faith to the mercy of the risen Lord. They lived well what our readings today proclaim.

After the resurrection, the disciples were locked in the upper room out of fear. But “Jesus came and stood in their midst.” Jesus came to bring peace to the disciples and to all of us, too. His greeting of peace still echoes in our Church today. While Jesus was with the apostles, “he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Through the Holy Spirit, Christ gave the apostles the power to forgive sins and allow the people to receive God’s mercy.

In 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized St. Faustina, who gave us the Divine Mercy devotion, and designated the second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday. On this day, we need to be mindful of the mercy that each of us needs for our sins — our failures in love —against God and our neighbor. In the sacrament of reconciliation, we can seek this forgiveness for our sins and receive the mercy of God. Through this sacrament of mercy, we are reunited with our Father in the peace and joy of the resurrection.

Thomas was not present went Jesus first appeared to the apostles, and so he did not immediately encounter Jesus as risen from the dead. As a result, he did not immediately believe the others, and declared, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hand and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Yet, Jesus once again appeared to the apostles and spoke directly 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.” This should give us great hope. The risen Lord appeared to Thomas and offered him his love and mercy even in the midst of Thomas’ own doubts, struggles and fears.

On this second Sunday of Easter, this Divine Mercy Sunday, let us strive to let Jesus bring us the peace, joy and mercy that come because of his suffering, death and resurrection. Let us seek out the great sacrament of that mercy, so that like St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II, we may know the joy of mercy and share that joy with others.

Deacon Anderson is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary for the Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. His teaching parish is St. Gabriel the Archangel in Hopkins.

Readings

Sunday, April 27
Sunday of Divine Mercy

  • Acts 2:42-47
  • 1 Peter 1:3-9
  • John 20:19-31

Reflection

How can we extend Christ’s love and mercy to others? How can we look to new saints Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II to accomplish this?

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Category: Sunday Scriptures