Gospel Reflection: Divine Mercy Sunday
Malvern Minute

 

SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER – SUNDAY OF DIVINE MERCY

APRIL 23, 2017

ALLELUIA

You believe in me, Thomas because you have seen me, says the Lord;

Blessed are they who have not seen me, but still believe!

ALLELUIA

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 20: 19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.  The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.  So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”  Thomas answered, and said to him: “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?   Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of [his] disciples that are not written in this book.  But these are written that you may [come to] believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

The Gospel of the Lord

 

REFLECTION

Saint John’s Gospel for this Sunday is filled with significant revelations from God.  The first significant point of attention is the use by Jesus of the same greeting three times: Peace be with you!

This greeting has deep biblical roots. On almost every occasions in the Holy Scriptures when God sends a messenger, an angel, to His people, the greeting is one of assurance and an exhortation to displace fear: “Don’t be afraid”.   In the Bible, FEAR IS THE ENEMY OF LOVE!   When we think about this, it makes perfect sense.  Most human life, if not all human life is lived with anxiety and fear … worrying about this, or that, and most significantly fear of death!   For humankind, insecurity & fear abounds because Faith is weak!

The Apostles confined themselves in the upper room for fearFear held them back from going out and proclaiming Christ as the love and mercy of the Father.  Fear makes us withdraw into ourselves; it frustrates our willingness and ability to go out of ourselves and love another!   Fear enslaves, chains us into ourselves.  The Easter message from the Resurrected Jesus is: Look at me; Risen from the dead!  Because of the Resurrection, you need not worry about death any more, and therefore, you need not worry about anything – go out now and BOLDLY proclaim the Resurrection!

On a personal note, the most significant disclosure in this Gospel passage is the encounter between Jesus and Thomas.  I never agreed with the popular expression of calling Thomas, Doubting Thomas!  I believe Thomas was heartbroken by missing Jesus’ first appearance.  And, I can see myself being like Thomas, and saying that I do not want to merely take the word of others — I want to encounter the Crucified Resurrected Christ for myself!

Continuing in this vain, the portion of the story that really touches my heart is twofold: Thomas hangs in there a whole week waiting and waiting for Jesus; and Jesus comes back the next Sunday just for Thomas.  Thomas’ determination in faith challenges me to hang in there even when I experience what feels like the absence of God.  Like every disciple, I must continually learn to wait on the Lord!

In addition, the passionate desire of Jesus for Thomas assures me daily that I too am important to Christ.  Truly, Jesus is the Good Shepherd who never forgets about any of us, or leaves any of us alone!   Praise Be Jesus Christ!

Do you experience the peace of Christ?  Are you able to identify the Thomas experience in your own life — Hang in there; and wait on the Lord … Jesus is coming back for you?

SEE BELOW:

Prayers of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

In Christ is the loving mercy of God given to the world so that each one may not die in sin but live in Christ.

This Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday.  On May 23, 2000, The Congregation for Divine Worship decreed that “throughout the world, the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that humankind will experience in the years to come.”  Devotion to the Divine Mercy was promoted by Saint Faustina Kowalska, canonized April 30, 2000 by Pope John Paul II.

Saint Faustina was born Helena Kowalska in a small village west of Lodz, Poland on August 25, 1905. When she was almost twenty, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, whose members devote themselves to the care and education of troubled young women. The following year she received her religious habit and was given the name Sister Maria Faustina, to which she added, “of the Most Blessed Sacrament”.  In the 1930’s, Sister Faustina received from the Lord a message of mercy that she was told to spread throughout the world. She was asked to become the apostle of God’s mercy, a model of how to be merciful to others, and an instrument for reemphasizing God’s plan of mercy for the world.

Prayers of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

(Recite using ordinary rosary beads of five decades).

  1. Sign of the Cross;
  2. Opening Prayer (on first bead): You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world.  O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelope the whole world and empty yourself out upon us.   O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in you! (Three times);
  3. The Our Father (second bead);
  4. The Hail Mary (third bead);
  5. The Apostles’ Creed (fourth bead);
  6. On the Our Father bead before each decade: Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world;
  7. On the Hail Mary beads of each decade: For the sake of His sorrowful Passion have mercy on us and the whole world;
  8. Repeat Eternal Father (#6) and For the Sake of the sorrowful Passion (#7) prayers for four more decades;
  9. After five decades, the concluding doxology is said three times: Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world;

Closing Prayer: Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless, and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us, and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments, we might not despair, nor become despondent, but with great confidence, submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy Itself.  Amen

ENCOUNTERING THE DIVINE PHYSICIAN, JESUS CHRIST

Healing the Paralytic (Luke 5: 17-26)

Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details: MalvernRetreat.com

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