Photo illustration by Phil Younk
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Show Jesus’ merciful love to others
Based on the Gospel of John 20:19-31
Easter night – Peace! Joy! Empowerment! Behind locked doors of the upper room, the apostles huddle together, fearful that what happened to Jesus will happen to them, too. Suddenly, Jesus appears and says, “Peace be with you.” To calm their fears and confusion, Jesus brings them peace, mercy and promises he’ll be with them always. He shows them the wounds in his hands and side. Joyfully, the apostles recognize Jesus.
Jesus says again, “Peace be with you.” He immediately empowers the apostles to carry on his work – to forgive sins and to share his forgiveness, mercy, peace and love with all people. With the help of the Holy Spirit, they will spread the Good News.
The apostle Thomas was absent when Jesus appeared. They tell him, “We have seen the Lord.” Thomas will not believe without seeing Jesus for himself.
A week later, although the doors are locked, Jesus again appears to the apostles, including Thomas. For a third time Jesus says, “Peace be with you.” With merciful love for Thomas, Jesus tells him, “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 adoringly responds, “My Lord and My God!”
Jesus tells Thomas, “Blessed are they who have not seen me but still believe in me.” With the other apostles, Thomas will faithfully go on to spread the Good News.
The Easter Season – Easter Sunday through Pentecost – will detail all that happened after Jesus’ Resurrection and the time he spent with the apostles.
For us, as disciples of Jesus, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy challenge us to show Jesus’ merciful love to others. They are ways we proclaim the Good News.
In 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized a humble young Polish nun – Sr. Faustina Kowalska – and designated the first Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday.
St. Faustina is known as the apostle of Divine Mercy because of Jesus’ appearances to her and his calls for people to come to him for forgiveness, healing and salvation. To learn about her life and the Divine Mercy devotion, contact the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass. (maintained by the religious order of priests known as the Marians of the Immaculate Conception) at www.marian.org
Jesus’ merciful love is without limits and given freely to us. He wants no one to miss out on his love and the help of his grace. “Jesus, I trust in you!”