Showing Mercy | Friar Reflections | The Second Sunday of Easter

Dear Parishioners,

Saints of God, the Lord be with you!

There is a lot of mercy being shown in today’s Gospel according to John (20:19-31). Though locked in a room due to fear, Jesus mercifully appears to the disciples. Instead of scolding those who denied and abandoned Him, Jesus mercifully offers them Peace: the Shalom of God, which is Right Relationship. Instead of looking for others to carry on His message, Jesus mercifully chooses them. Instead of sending them forth unequipped, Jesus mercifully gifts them with the Holy Spirit.

What’s interesting to me is Thomas, who was not with the others during this appearance. I like to imagine that Thomas was out getting food for his friends. After all, Thomas was the one who earlier said, “Let us also go (with Jesus) so that we may die with him” (John 11:16). Rather than nick-naming him “Doubting Thomas”, I like to consider him “Courageous Thomas” who was not afraid to put his life on the line for the other disciples, nor was he afraid to express his doubts. “Unless I see the marks of the nails in His hands and put my fingers in the nail marks and put my finger into His side, I will not believe.” (also, see John 14:5).

I like to think that the condition for the possibility of  Jesus appearing again in the upper room to Thomas, was the mercy shown to him by the other disciples. Rather than chastising him, or excommunicating him, they continued to embrace him and support him in his doubt.

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes find myself vacillating between faith and doubt. Sometimes I question my own vocation. Rather than being afraid of my doubt, I’ve come to see it as a call to deepen my prayer life, perhaps read a book of theology or study again the prayers of the Mass, all the while clinging to the faith community. Sometimes it’s the faith of the community, especially the community of my brothers with whom I live, that sees me through these times of doubt.

This Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday, in which we are called to pay forward to others the Mercy of God shown to us. Divine Mercy Sunday reminds us that every Sunday, and indeed every day of the week, should be a day in which mercy is received and given. The parish of Sacred Heart is a parish of mercy, not just today but every day. Let us continue to honor and glorify God by being merciful to all.

Peace and All Good,
Fr. Steve