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Sunday, March 30, 2008
Blessed are those who have not seen and who believe
This Sunday's Gospel takes in both the Easter Sunday evening appearance of Jesus to his apostles when he enters through the locked doors and tells them, "Peace be with you" and the next Sunday's appearance. On Easter Sunday, he shows them his hands and his side and they "rejoiced when they saw the Lord."
Then Jesus, without a word of reproof to them for having abandoned him, says 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."
This gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation was given on the very day that Jesus rose from the dead, but Thomas was not with the fearful disciples locked in the room. When the others told him that they had seen Jesus, he said that unless he saw the mark of the nails in his hands and put his finger into the nailmarks and put his hand into his side, he would not believe. So, a week later, Thomas now with the disciples, Jesus again comes, although the doors were still locked! Again, Jesus greets them with, "Peace be with you." Then he speaks to Thomas and says, "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." And Thomas makes his magnificent profession of faith: "My Lord and my God!"
Thomas believes and because of Thomas we also know that Jesus said, "Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."
What a grace for us! We all have moments of doubt in our lives, but we do not see and still believe and that makes us blessed! The Gospel ends with John telling us that Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written, "But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name."
Divine Mercy Sunday is a time to go before the Lord with thanksgiving; we have been forgiven, we are given the peace of Christ, we have faith to say "My Lord and my God!" Let us put our trust in the Heart of Jesus and go forth to proclaim his love!