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Second Sunday of Easter – Sunday of Divine Mercy

April 27, 2019

Alleluia, Alleluia.

You believe in my Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord; Blessed are those who have not seen me, but still believe!

Alleluia, 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 by Monsignor Joseph T. Marino

As is the case always with Saint John the Evangelist, this Sunday’s is packed with significant revelations about God.   The first significant point of attention is Jesus using the same greeting three times: Peace be with you!  

This salutation does not come out of the clear blue sky.  On most occasions in the Holy Scriptures when a messenger comes from the all-holy realm of God to address people, the greeting is one of assurance and an effort to expel fear.  Angels always begin their message by exclaiming: “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 in apprehension and fear … worrying about this, or that, and most significantly fearing death!   For humankind, insecurity abounds because faith in God’s providence is weak!

The Apostles imprisoned themselves in the upper room for fear.  They were incapable of going into the world and proclaiming Christ as the saving love of the Father because of fearFear makes people withdraw into themselves; fear frustrates our willingness and ability to go out of ourselves and love and serve another!   Fear enslaves, chains us within 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!

The other significant disclosure in the Gospel 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.  I can see myself saying that I do not want merely to take the word of others, and that I want to encounter the Crucified Resurrected Christ for myself! 

However, 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 the second is the fact that Jesus came 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 consideration and compassion 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 stranded!   Praise be Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord!

Peace be with you.  Do not be afraid.  Christ died and rose for you!   Take the time this week to identify the Thomas experience in your own life, and during the week hang in there like Thomas because Jesus always comes back for us!


Monsignor Joseph Marino


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