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Divine Mercy Sunday

April 19, 2020

Second Sunday of Easter

Divine Mercy Sunday

April 19, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry

 

On this Divine Mercy Sunday we recall the words of Saint Thomas Aquinas, “Mercy consists in bringing a thing out of non-being into being.” 

 

Acts of the Apostles 2:42-47

 Psalm 118

First Letter of Saint Peter 1:3-9

John 10:19-31

 

Twenty-five years ago I had the privilege to tach a course entitled “Communication and Listening Skills.”  The fun part of the class was the various “experiments” that would enhance ones skills of listening, communicating and perception.  For example:

            Imagine being called up in front of your fellow pre-law classmates and blindfolded.  A water bucket is placed in front of you and you are asked if the bucket is empty or full.  What are the three ways you can learn that answer to the question without removing the blindfold.  By the way, not one of the answers requires getting wet.

The first way to learn was to reach into the bucket and feel if there is water in it.  In other words, you can experience firsthand information if the bucket is full or empty.  We would of course be using our sense of touch.  Therefore, the first way of learning is called “experiencing.”

The second way to learn is to drop an object, like a coin, into the bucket.  If the coin hits the bottom of the bucket with a loud or ringing sound you would know it was empty.  If the coin hits with a splash you would know it contains water.  In this case we would be using our sense of hearing.  This way of learning is called “reasoning.”

The third and final way to learn if the bucket contains water or is empty is to ask someone you trust to assist you.  The person could look into the bucket and tell you if it has water in it, or not.  This way of learning is called “believing.”  It has nothing to do with the five senses.  It is knowledge that we acquire by faith.

I suspect we could say that “experiencing, reasoning and believing” are the three ways we acquire knowledge in this life.  We can then say that the way we acquire every-day knowledge is even truer of the way we acquire religious knowledge.  Most of our religious knowledge comes to us by believing what the Sacred Scriptures tell us.  In other words, most of our religious knowledge comes by believing or the strength of our faith in God.

Today, the Second Sunday of Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday.  It is also called “Doubting Thomas Sunday” because it centers on Saint Thomas the Apostle “doubting” the Resurrection of Jesus when his companions told him about the event.

Thomas the Apostle is one of the chosen twelve and always believed in Jesus and His message of salvation.  However he lost hope when his source of inspiration, his teacher, his brother and the light of his life was nailed to a cross and died.  When he was told by the other disciples that Jesus had been resurrected from the dead he did not believe.  He wanted proof.  He wanted to use his knowledge and experience by touching Jesus and by hearing His voice in order to believe.  Remember the experiment with the blindfold and the bucket?  Thomas was indeed wearing a blindfold.  What then can we learn from Thomas?

First is not to do what he did.  What he did was leave the group.  The other ten disciples, even though they were devastated at the death of Jesus, banded together – except for Thomas.  When we are discouraged, especially now during the Coronavirus pandemic, we should band together as a Christian community because we need our belief and faith in God in our lives more than ever.

Second, Thomas did not understand what was happening, so he presumed that he knew everything.  He could not grasp fully that a person died and came back to life. He taught us a lesson that if we do not understand we should be humble and honest and accept the fact we do not understand and ask for clarification through study and prayer.

Third is that we need inspirations in order to make our lives more meaningful.  That inspiration is the Holy Eucharist.  With it we can be strong and continue serving Jesus and His Church.

Fourth is prayer.  Prayer is the mightiest power on earth.  The evil one cannot harm us when we make prayer part of our daily lives.

Fifth are the sacraments, especially Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist.  The Body and Blood of Christ which is the source and summit of our faith.

Sixth is Jesus Himself.  He is our inspiration, our hope, our joy, our model, our teacher and our friend.

Of course Thomas did come to believe as he exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!”  His blindfold was removed by Jesus and he preached the Good News for many years and Persia and died a glorious martyr’s death. 

May our own experience, our ability to reason and our unyielding belief allow us to serve our Church, as well as others during our earthly journey.

Question of the Day:  How will you remove any doubts from your heart, mind and soul, that Jesus is our Risen Lord who, through His teachings and example, leads us to His Father and the heavenly kingdom?

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