April 08, 2018
Today is the 2nd Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday. St. Faustina, a Polish nun and mystic, had a vision of Jesus, the Risen Lord, with streams of light emanating from his heart. Her mystical meditations on the mercy of God had an influence on a Polish Pope, St. John Paul II. He promoted Divine Mercy Sunday. Fittingly, Divine Mercy Sunday occurs when the Gospel according to St. John remains the same in the three-year cycle of readings.
Jesus appears to the disciples huddled behind a locked door. Jesus greets his friends with peace, imparts the Holy Spirit and commissions them to forgive. Thomas is not present and refuses to believe unless he can see and probe the wounds of Jesus. Jesus comes again and invites Thomas to see his nail marks and touch his pierced side. Thomas, the doubter, acclaims: “My Lord and my God.”
Jesus ends with the beatitude: “Blessed are they who have not seen and believe.” This is a blessing for us who not seen Jesus physically during his earthly life and have not been privileged to see Jesus after his resurrection. But we do see him and hear his voice within the believing community. In our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke gives us a snapshot of idyllic moments of harmony in the Early Church: praying together, unity in Baptism and at Eucharist, sharing resources in common, and fidelity to apostolic teaching. But Saint Luke also honestly recalls very difficult times of suffering & persecution, of discord & disagreement and of sinfulness & failure. There is an abiding presence of the Risen Lord.
Our Catholic community is wounded by revelations of priest abuse of children. Bishop Malone is encouraging people who have been abused as children to come forward for counseling, for recognition of their suffering and for compensation. Names of priests responsible are being released. It is a difficult time but also a time for honesty, for healing and for hope. As Rumi, a 13th century Persian Sunnis Muslim poet writes: “The wound is the place where the light enters.”
3rd Sunday of Easter