Gospel Reflection Apr 11 – Msgr. Hendricks
Sunday, April 11
Sunday of Divine Mercy
John 20: 19 – 31
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 Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
The Second Sunday of Easter has become known as Divine Mercy Sunday. It concludes the Octave of Easter (8 Days after the Resurrection of the Lord). It was Pope Saint John Paul II who placed this Solemnity on the Roman Liturgical Calendar in the year 2001. It honors Saint Sister Faustina Kowalski, a polish sister who had a devotion to the Mercy of Christ Risen.
The opening prayer for this day reads, “Heavenly Father and God of Mercy, We no longer look for Jesus among the dead, for He is alive and has become the Lord of Life.” The devotions that take place on this Sunday stress the Mercy of Christ and the forgiveness of sin.
In the gospel of John today, we hear of the post resurrection account of the Risen Jesus visit to his disciples who are hiding in the upper Room with His mother Mary. It is important to note that his greeting is not one of condemnation for those who rejected him, even among His closest aides, but His greeting is simply, “Peace be with you.” His mercy is extended to them and to the world then and now. His message is one of forgiveness and peace as he calls each of them to a new life and new vision and given them a new mission. The Risen Lord visits them again and again and prepares them to act as ambassadors of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation to the World. In taking that step the Risen Lord extends that message of peace and mercy to us. We now carry on as His ambassadors of mercy.
I hope that this Sunday of Divine Mercy will guide us to closeness of the Risen Lord and allow us to accept and give mercy and forgiveness to others.