Sunday Reflection- Divine Mercy Sunday
“Jesus, I Trust in You”
***I do believe, help my unbelief***
We have that unique expression in the English language, “The doubting Thomas.” Thomas, however always seems to get a bad rap for his uncertainty and his seeming “lack of faith.” The fact however, is quite different, Thomas did have faith. He was the one who spoke up when Jesus decided to go to Jerusalem and the other disciples tried to dissuade him. In fact, Thomas made the comment, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (Jn. 11:16).
Let me make one more point. In all actuality, Thomas was not asking for anything that had not already been given to the other apostles. Easter Sunday they all had seen Jesus, they saw his hands where the nails had been and the wound in his side that was large enough for a person to put their hand inside. Whether any of them touched him or not, we don’t know. Thomas simply wanted the same opportunity the other apostles had.
Why was it so necessary for all of the apostles including Thomas, to see the Risen Christ? The reason is that they needed to see him if they were to be true, authentic witnesses to the world that Jesus had truly risen. That was the mission that Jesus gave them to undertake as he told them before he ascended to the Father, “you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).
We too are called to witnesses even though we have not seen the risen Jesus; we are witnesses to our faith, we are witnesses to God’s love, we are also witnesses to the Divine Mercy. This Sunday was designated by Saint John Paul The Great as Divine Mercy Sunday. I remember three years ago, as I had the opportunity to be in Rome for the canonization of Saint John Paul The Great on Divine Mercy Sunday. As I stood in the middle of St. Peter’s square watching and listening to the words of St. Faustina and Pope Francis during the canonization, I could not help but think of the words Jesus spoke to the Apostles, “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, whose sins you retain are retained.” This took place on the very night of the Resurrection when the Apostles were hiding from fear of the Jews. Also, we might recall that Thomas was not there on that Sunday, but was there on the following Sunday. Could this have been God’s Providence to set up this feast associated with trust in Jesus? I think so.
We might ask ourselves, why would Jesus want the image of Divine Mercy to be blessed and venerated on this day? It is because the Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation are displayed in this image. By Jesus’ own words the rays indicate the Blood and Water that gushed from His heart when it was pierced on the Cross. Water is what makes souls righteous and the Blood is the life of souls. In the Divine Mercy image, Jesus is moving towards us and asking us to trust in him.
In the image of Divine Mercy, Jesus is asking us not to be afraid of approaching him and asking him for his mercy in the sacrament of Reconciliation, because he wants to give us the greatest gift possible.
Then we too, like those first apostles and like Thomas, may our faith; our belief in Jesus and our trust in a loving God, be strengthened not by sight, but by faith; and may we have the strength through the power and gift of the Holy Spirit to go forth as witnesses of his mercy and love to bring others closer to Him.
Indeed, this is the Day the Lord has made, Let us rejoice and be glad in it…..JMJ….Fr. Bob!