Divine Mercy Sunday (2nd Sunday of Easter)
There are little pieces in the Gospel that we can never understand, these are things about God that it is clearly not necessary for us to know now. However, it is natural to wonder and to make our own assessment of what they really mean. In today’s Gospel we hear of the apostles being in the room and the doors were closed. Jesus then stood among them, I have often dealt with this mystery by thinking of Jesus as a Spirit and that he would not be bound by any physical doors or walls. However, in doing this I am not acknowledging the true reality of the Resurrection, the rest of today’s Gospel reveals that true reality, the actual physical Body of Jesus was present to the apostles. And as evidence of this for us, Thomas revealed the doubt that God does not want us to have, he allowed Thomas to be our witness to the truth. Thomas put his finger in the wounds on Jesus’ hand and he put his hand in his side. This would not be the natural thing to do when we would see wounds, however it was necessary for Thomas to do this for us so that there could be no ambiguity, no thinking that it was The Spirit of Jesus that was present. This point reveals how it is possible for us to cloud our own judgement, how we can develop our own truths. It also reveals how important it is to keep hearing and reading scripture, how important it is to be alert to how our own minds are storing what we know. It is also really important when we are explaining to others that we have not allowed our own truths to distort the truth about God.
One area where this has become a very serious concern is in relation to the Body and Blood of Jesus. Every time Mass is celebrated we are present to the actual Body & Blood of God.
We receive the living Body & Blood in the host that we receive. Like my distortion on the physical Body of Jesus being present in the room we are bombarded today with interpretations of what we are receiving. The press in particular never acknowledges the truth of this miracle. At most the Body and Blood are referred to as Blessed Bread & Wine. It’s secular language and it’s essential that we don’t fall into the trap of it becoming our language. I am always conscious of adults reducing the explanation for Children, there is perhaps a sense of protecting Children from the harshness of the story in that after Jesus giving us his actual Body & Blood the brutality of the Cross is the reality. The other reason that adults perhaps do not tell children the truth about Communion is because they are unable to say it with conviction, they don’t fully believe themselves. This can only be resolved by going to Mass, receiving the Body & Blood and daring yourself to take the risk. The risk is that we are all being fooled. That it’s not really the Body and Blood and it’s just a very old-fashioned custom. It is a risk worth taking! I do not know of anyone who took a chance on Jesus who has not been overwhelmed by his response. The real risk is that it is possible to miss out on the greatest mystery God has ever given to humanity because we allowed our decisions to be influenced by diluted stories from the press and others. Tell children the whole truth, they have a much greater capacity to understand this mystery because they do not have the dilution that we have allowed to creep in. The Eucharist is the centrality of our faith, take away the Eucharist and we will scatter as sheep without the Shepherd. Many regimes have attempted to block us and previous generations from the Eucharist because they knew the power of it. Many of our ancestors gave their lives by seeking out the Eucharist when it was forbidden, it is incredible and scary to think that the greatest risk to the Eucharist today is our own intelligence. We always assume that each generation is more intelligent that the one behind it but today we may be witnessing the point in history where the ability to think has been taken away and therefore left us materially better of and spiritually illiterate. It is the most dangerous time in over 2000 years.
Lord thank you for the gift of your precious Body & Blood. Thank you for the gifts of our lives and every breath that we take.
Eight days later, Jesus came again and stood among them
In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.
‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’
After saying this he breathed on them and said:
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’
Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him:
‘You believe because you can see me.
Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’
There were many other signs that Jesus worked and the disciples saw, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.