Supreme gift of mercy.

Sunday, April 24th 2022 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin

Today, the Second Sunday of Easter, is Divine Mercy Sunday. Our Gospel reading from Saint John is often called the story of “Doubting Thomas,” but the passage involves so much more than the encounter with the skeptical apostle. It is rich with lessons of Christ’s mercy to all, including an encouraging word from our Lord especially for us, His modern-day disciples.

While Thomas traditionally takes all the bad rap for his doubts, we see that none of the Apostles were at their best when Christ first appeared to them after His resurrection. Actually, they were hiding out, cowering behind a locked door, paralyzed by fear, anxiety, and doubt.

But Jesus appeared in their midst despite of the locked door. Did Jesus appear before them to rebuke them for their lack of faith? Quite the contrary.

He came on a mission of mercy. He came to offer them peace and the restoration of their relationship with Him. And even more, He commissioned them to become ministers of His mercy to others, by giving them authority to forgive sins. At that moment Christ gives to all of us the supreme gift of mercy — the sacrament of Reconciliation. What a precious and powerful gift given to us!

This Sunday is a perfect time to reflect on how well we make use of this gift. Do we really appreciate its healing power? Could we become better disciples of this gift by going to Confession more frequently? We must also reflect on how well we extend mercy to others as Jesus did to Thomas that day. If we desire mercy, we must first show mercy toward others (Luke 6:36).

Let’s commit ourselves to becoming faithful disciples of Christ’s mercy. We will be those very ones to whom Jesus gave a “shout out” during His encounter with Thomas: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” — in His merciful love.