Sunday, April 3, 2016

"Oh, I am a great sinner!" "All the better! Go to Jesus: He likes you to tell him these things!" He forgives & forgets

Gospel Text: (JN 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 nailmarks
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 Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

Today is Mercy Sunday of our 2016 Year of Mercy, promulgated by Pope Francis. The mission the Church entrusts to us during this year is to be a sign and instrument of the Father's Mercy and Christ's Peace. For this reason, our Holy Year is meant to keep alive the desire to recognize and welcome the numerous signs of the tenderness which God offers to the whole world and, above all, to those who suffer greatly, who are alone and abandoned, and who are without hope of being pardoned or feeling the Father's love.

Faced with the tragic events of terrorism in our world today, along with the immense strain on our poor, frustration of our marginalized, and suffering in our victims of injustice, we can feel helpless and crushed. Understandably we may ask ourselves, "Why?" The perpetration of all this evil and the pain of its victims appear insurmountable. And so we may also ask: "How can we adequately deal with this evil and the pain it causes?" For us on our own it is impossible. Only God can bring us what we need: Divine Mercy and Peace. It is Jesus who died on the Cross, rose on the third day, and visited the upper room to be with His beloved disciples who delivers to them the fullness of Mercy and Peace to enjoy and to share with others. He delivers these gifts to us today, throughout the year, and for the rest of our lives.

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