APRIL 11. DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY. JOHN 20. 19-31
In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.
‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’
After saying this he breathed on them and said:
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’
Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’
Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him: ‘You believe because you can see me? Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’
There were many other signs that Jesus worked and the disciples saw, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.
There can be little doubt the centrepiece of this Gospel are the wounds of Christ. The first thing he did on appearing among the disciples was to offer them “Peace” and show them his wounds; - the reason peace had now become available to the world!
This is the major reason the Easter season is such a joyful occasion, as Divine Mercy had now become available to a sinful world, and the gates of Heaven, which had been previously locked to God’s People by sin, were now open again!
In order to access this Divine Mercy, there was only one requirement, and that was people had to have Faith in God, and in the teachings of Christ his Son; - a point made strongly by the ApostleThomas who said “I refuse to believe” unless I see these sacred wounds!
The reason the Gospels reveal a lack of Faith by so many immediately after the Resurrection is for our benefit, as we are able to hear how their Faith was restored by Christ, and especially in the way Thomas was able to profess his Faith; - by touching Christ’s Wounds.
This is why the Gospels hold such an important place in the life of Christians, in that they give us the truths we believe; - and we need to hear how the Faith of all the doubters was restored.
Today’s reading also reveals the normal way to access Divine Mercy; - by having our sins forgiven in the wonderful Sacrament of Confession; - where we also bear witness to our Faith
“Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; whose sins you retain, they are retained!”