Friday, April 17, 2020
Sunday of Divine Mercy, 2020
We as Catholics are invited to approach life rooted in gratitude for the salvation our Lord has won for us through His death and Resurrection. The Lectionary readings on Divine Mercy Sunday instructs us on how this approach may play out in daily life and remind us that complete trust in God’s mercy will to lead us, step-by-step, to heaven.
It can really be a challenge keeping our eyes on heaven when the things of earth; coronavirus, job layoffs, family crisis, health troubles, political strife ties us to the here and now. We can find ourselves becoming cynical like the Apostle, Thomas, in this Sunday’s Gospel passage until he had an encounter with the merciful Savior. We may recall Thomas’ famous line, because he was absent during Jesus’ first appearance after the Resurrection on Easter evening. Beaten down by the events of the previous days, Thomas refused to believe that the others had “seen the Lord” as they had claimed.
Thomas stubbornly declared he would not believe their story about the Lord unless he placed his finger into the nail marks and his hand into His side. Yet, these doubts did not repel our Lord. With the eyes of mercy our Lord Jesus saw that beneath the hubris of Thomas’ statement was pain and disappointment. Saint Faustina Kowalska relates in the Divine Mercy Chaplet that in Eternal God, mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion. In the end, Jesus did not condemn Thomas, but calmed his doubts and fears, and even invited Thomas to touch his sacred wounds.
Lutheran philosopher Paul Tillich was known to have said, “Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.” Saint Thomas was sadly known for his doubt. We too may be tempted to doubt faith for any reason. In the end we are invited to seek the Lord in prayer, in the sacraments, and through the encouragement of fellow Christians. We are promised as what Jesus did for Thomas, he will mercifully fill us with Easter joy and peace.