Gospel Reflection Apr 19 – Deacon Don
Sunday, April 19
Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday)
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.
What a strange and fantastic time that we are living in — during this Lent and Easter Season! On the one hand, we are experiencing an acute longing for attending Mass and receiving the Eucharist. Yet, Mass or Eucharist or not, Our Lord has Risen! While we did not experience the Triduum and Easter celebration in person this year, his rising remains a reality. We may have missed the direct firsthand experience just as Thomas missed that first day in the upper room. As with Thomas, do we really need to see his hands and place our hand into his side? We may ask ourselves as Thomas undoubtably did, “Do we really want to be saved?” Thomas responded to that question with his “all in” response, “My Lord and my God!” There was no other answer he could give. Jesus calls each of us to touch him in a direct way and feel his wounds. When he calls us, there is no room for half measures and therefore, no half responses. Jesus asks us to be, “all in!” with him.
Being denied the firsthand experience of Mass and receiving the Eucharist, we feel denied the full experience of the reality of our faith. May this time today apart from the Mass and Eucharist never be experienced again (we hope) in our lifetime. It is through this separation that we have journeyed into the desert and have emerged with a reaffirmation of our faith. The joy of Easter should never be so real as it is for us now!
Let us bring this journey to what Our Lord intended — a renewal to His ever presence and His caring for us during our time of denial and absence. Let us come out of this time with a renewed patience and respect for each other, our families, our neighbors, and our ability to meet the challenges of life with wisdom, courage and strength.
-Deacon Don Poirier