On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said 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.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
Peace takes the form of mercy
The Second Sunday of Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday. It is good to recall Pope Francis’ declaration of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy that started on December 8, 2015. His Bull of Indiction entitled Misericordia Vultus presents Jesus as “the face of the Father’s mercy.” He notes that mercy will always be greater than sin, and no one can place limits on the love of God who is ever ready to forgive.
On the evening of the first day of the week, the risen Christ stands in the midst of the fearful disciples. His first word to them is shalom, peace! “Peace be with you.” In peace, there is forgiveness and reconciliation. As Jesus bestows forgiveness on the disciples, he likewise gives them the power to bring this forgiveness to peoples. He breathes on them the Holy Spirit: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
Pope Francis says that we can be messengers of peace if we have received the Peace of Christ, the fruit of being reconciled and be at peace with God. Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ we attain God’s peace, which takes the form of mercy. Jesus Christ is the embodiment of divine mercy. Through his incarnation, God’s mercy is merged into our frail human nature, and this is transformed into newness in his resurrection. Truly the image of the Jubilee Year depicts the Merging eyes: Christ sees with the eyes of Adam, and Adam sees with the eyes of Christ. By Jesus’ resurrection the number one enemy, SIN that leads to DEATH, is finally conquered.
Christ’s mandate to preach and offer forgiveness continues to operate today in the Church. Pope Francis invites the People of God: “Let the Church be the place of mercy and hope, where everyone is welcomed, loved, and forgiven.” The Church is the place of obtaining God’s mercy through the sacrament of Reconciliation, through the corporal works of Mercy, through the spiritual works of Mercy, and, above all, through the Eucharist which embodies the sharing of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and the fellowship of communion in the Church.
The union of Christ and his Church is best illustrated in acts of mercy done in everyday life. A shining example of this is St. Teresa who heard the voice of God and heeded the cries of the poor in the slums of Kolkata. As God’s mercy and compassion flowed out through her, others were inspired to do the same.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.