Today we are celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday, and I want to reflect how God’s mercy has sustained us in many ways, and how His mercy is reflected in how Jesus treated Thomas in the Gospel. During this past year, we have had the terrible experience of the worldwide pandemic. We have experienced loss, racial hate and unrest, incivility and political hostility throughout the United States. We have also experienced that our faith has been shaken or lost in our church. Even in our midst, we hear Jesus telling us: “peace be with you.” That is what we need the most in our lives to continue being witnesses of the Risen Lord.
In the Gospel, we always hear the same story about Thomas in the three liturgical cycles. We have called this story, the doubting Thomas story. This can be our own story also. I believe that to doubt is a good thing to do in our own lives. How many times have we doubted our own ideas, our own principles, our own work, etc.… it is proof that we are not on automatic pilot, we have not finished thinking and sizing things up. Doubt is not always the opposite of faith; the real opposite of faith is a certain kind of fear. Fear sometimes makes you do nothing, or it makes you run away. Faith pushes us to take chances, to risk ourselves.
Thomas was not a fearful man, he was able to take action. Thomas was the one who told his friends “let us go to Jerusalem and die with him” (Jn 11:16). He did not lack faith, it is simply that he did not want to be deluded. He wanted to understand and figure things out. Maybe Thomas did believe that Jesus had risen from the dead, he just may not have believed the other disciples. If they have seen the Lord, why are they still locked up in that room? If they are filled with such joy, why could they not show it on their faces? Thomas did not find them believable. Thomas did not doubt the Lord; he doubted the words of his friends. Sometimes we are in the same situation, we don’t doubt that Jesus has risen, but we don’t see real witnesses of the Resurrection among us.
During this Easter season, let us be joyful and true witnesses of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and to receive his Divine Mercy during this threshold time. As we bear witness in our own way, may Jesus’ peace be with us.
Peace, Fr. Oscar Mendez, OFM
Pastor, Mission San Luis Rey Parish
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