2nd Sunday of Easter (C)

Life in the world is a mixture of faith and doubt. Trust and confidence leads to a healthy relationships whereas doubts lead to frustration and conflicts. Broken relationships are bridged by mercy and forgiveness, which can make a difference in the lives of individuals. The ABC of Divine Mercy are: A for Ask for mercy, B for be merciful and C for complete trust in God. We need to ask and return to God with a repentant heart to recive it. Blessed are the merciful for they will be comforted. Be merciful as your heavenly father is merciful. Lastly without trust there is no mercy and the prayer that we need to reaffirm is “Jesus I trust in you”

On the feast of Divine Mercy, we are reminded of the three tasks the Lord had assigned to St. Faustina: 1. To pray for souls, entrusting them to God’s incomprehensible Mercy; 2. To tell the world about God’s generous Mercy; 3. To start a new movement in the Church focusing on God’s Mercy.  At the canonization of St. Faustina, Pope St. John Paul II said: “The cross, even after the Resurrection of the Son of God, speaks, and never ceases to speak, of God the Father, who is absolutely faithful to His eternal love for man. … Believing in this love means believing in mercy.”  “The Lord of Divine Mercy,” a drawing of Jesus based on the vision given to St. Faustina, shows Jesus raising his right hand in a gesture of blessing, with His left hand on his heart from which gush forth two rays, one red and one white.  The picture contains the message, “Jesus, I trust in You!” The rays streaming out have symbolic meaning: red for the Bloodof Jesus, which is the life of souls is the Eucharist and white for the Baptismal water which justifies souls. The Sacrament of Baptism makes us the children of God and the Eucharist sustains, nourishes and enriches our relatioship with God.  Thewhole image is symbolic of the mercy, forgiveness and love of God. 

The first part of today’s Gospel(verses 19-23), describes how Jesus entrusted to his apostles his mission of preaching the “Good News” of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation.  This portion of the reading teaches us that Jesus uses the Church as the earthly means of continuing His mission.  It also teaches us that the Church needs Jesus as its source of power and authority, and that it becomes Christ’s true messenger only when it perfectly loves and obeys Him.  The Risen Lord gives the apostles the authority to forgive sins in His Name.  He gives the apostles the power of imparting God’s mercy to the sinner, the gift of forgiving sins from God’s treasury of mercy.  The Gospel text also reminds us that the clearest way of expressing our belief in the presence of the Risen Jesus among us is through our own forgiveness of others.  We can’t form a lasting Christian community without such forgiveness.  Unless we forgive others, our celebration of the Eucharist is just an exercise in liturgical rubrics. 

The second part of the Gospel(verses 24-29), presents the fearless apostle St. Thomas in his uncompromising honesty demanding a personal vision of, and physical contact with, the risen Jesus as a condition for his belief.  Thomas had not been with the Apostles when Jesus first appeared to them.  As a result, he refused to believe. We see in the gospels how Jesus encountered him and transformed him form a doubting to believing Thomas. 

The courageous Faith: The encounter of the risen Lord did strengthen his own convictions. The Lord’s words are very strong “Blessed are those who have not seen but have believed.” 

Communicative Faith: Thomas, the “doubting” apostle, makes the great profession of faith, “My Lord and my God.” Raymond Brown calls this “the supreme Christological pronouncement of the Fourth Gospel”.  Here, the most outrageous doubter of the Resurrection of Jesus utters the greatest confession of belief in the Lord Who rose from the dead. This declaration by the “doubting” Thomas in today’s Gospel is very significant for two reasons.  

1) Itis the foundation of our Christian Faith.  Our Faith is based on the Divinity of Jesus as proved by His miracles, especially by the supreme miracle of His Resurrection from the dead.  Thomas’ profession of Faith is the strongest evidence we have of the Resurrection of Jesus.  

2) Thomas’ Faith culminated in his self-surrender to Jesus, his heroic missionary expedition to India in A.D. 52, his fearless preaching, and the powerful testimony given by his martyrdom in A.D. 72.  

Community of Faith: Thomas was able to overcome his doubts by seeing the risen Jesus.  Modern Christians, who are no longer able to “see” Jesus with their eyes, must believe what they hear.  That is why Paul reminds us that “Faith comes from hearing” (Rom 10:17).  “This Gospel shows us that Faith comes in different ways to different people. The beloved disciple believes upon seeing the empty tomb (v. 8). Mary believes when the Lord calls her name (v. 16). The disciples must see the risen Lord (v. 20). Thomas says that he must touch the wounds (v. 25)—although that need evaporates once he sees the risen Christ (v. 28). We see this in all those who have encountered the risen Lord, “We have seen the Lord.” It is an experience that generates the power of the Lord to share with others what each one has experienced.