Second Sunday of Easter (C):
In one seminar that I attended, our facilitator scheduled us to visit a pottery. While we were there I watched a pot maker very intently. I was fascinated at how skillfully his hands and fingers ran through the clay pot turning on their primitive machine, and in a few minutes the clay turned into a beautiful pot. The potter invited me to try. The clay was cold and slimy. I tried, but the clay would fall apart. Clumsy as I was, I wished I did not volunteer. Then the potter said, “Don’t think of the clay. Don’t think of your hands. Imagine the pot that you intend to do.” Sure enough, in a few minutes, I made a pot, crude as it was, but it was a pot.
When Jesus showed His pierced hands to Thomas and the other disciples, Jesus did not complain about the pain at His crucifixion, neither did He accuse his disciples of their cowardice and weakness. In fact, He cheered them up and strengthened them with the peace that He gave, as well as the power to forgive sins that He entrusted to them. Jesus did not dwell on the past, but on the hope the disciples needed. In his Biblical Reflection for today, Divine Mercy Sunday, Father Thomas Rosica, consultor to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, explained: “Though we know so little about Thomas, his family background and his destiny, we are given an important hint into his identity in the etymology of his name in Greek: Thomas (Didymous in Greek) means “twin”. Who was Thomas’ other half, his twin? Maybe we can see his twin by looking into the mirror. Thomas’ other half is anyone who has struggled with the pain of unbelief, doubt and despair, and has allowed the presence of the Risen Jesus to make a difference. When this happens, the ice of skepticism thaws. Thomas and his twins throughout the world risk everything in Jesus and for Jesus and become sources of blessing for others, in spite of their doubts and despair and because of their doubts and despair” (Zenit, April 04, 2010).
The disciples would now be the hands, the feet and the side of Jesus, for, in fact, they would preach the Gospel, proclaim His peace to the world and exercise the power of forgiveness of sins. Jesus entrusted to us His Church: to bring His message to people who are unbending in their ways of thinking and doing, to proclaim peace to this world wounded by its enmity with evil and blaring with the noise of consumerism, technology, convenience and selfishness, and to bring the power of forgiveness which is the foundation of peace. Development of a person and a nation will have meaning only if and when people return to the fount of mercy, the Son of God.
When the late Pope John Paul II proclaimed this Sunday as Divine Mercy Sunday, He was thinking how the hands of Jesus and His mercy shape people and the world. This world is shaped in God’s love only through His ways. After Solomon completed the house of the LORD and the royal palace and successfully accomplished everything he had planned to do in regard to the house of the LORD and his own house (cf. 2Chr 7:11), God said to Solomon: “I have heard your prayer, and I have chosen this place for my house of sacrifice…. and if my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land” (2Chr 7:12-14). Thus, peace and development will reign only through humility obtained in prayer and by turning to the mercy of God.
Today is a special day of God’s mercy, a day of hope, a day of joy. It is a joy not because of conveniences in life, but the sharing of the life of Jesus with the needy, the lonely, and the oppressed. Jesus said to St. Faustina: “Many souls…. are often worried because they do not have the material means with which to carry out an act of mercy. Yet spiritual mercy, which requires neither permissions nor storehouses, is much more meritorious and is within the grasp of every soul. If a soul does not exercise mercy somehow or other, it will not obtain My mercy on the day of judgment. Oh, if only souls knew how to gather eternal treasure for themselves, they would not be judged, for they would forestall My judgment with their mercy” (1317). Jesus wants us to gather riches that flow from His side that will shape our life and the life of our nation: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal 5: 22-23).
Moreover, on account of today’s feast, our Lord said to Sr. Faustina: “The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet…. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy” (699).
Let us again commit ourselves in seeking the mercy of God in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist entrusted to us for the salvation of the world, and live out that mercy in the service of the Church. May our hope in Jesus remain alive, and His mercy be with us forever.