for Sunday, April 3, 2016
Mercy Sunday in the Year of Mercy! Surely we must look at each of the three readings today from this privileged point of view: Mercy upon mercy upon mercy.
The Acts of the Apostles shows the sick being brought to the Apostles and especially to Peter so that they might be cured. Even today, where there are rumors of cures and healings at various places in our world, or when a person gains fame as a healer, people begin to flock to such places or people. Why? Because those who are sick want healing. That should never surprise us! What can surprise us is when people do not recognize that they are sick and then look for healing. This is more and more the case in our present age: terrorists, angry people, people seduced by sensuality, people seeking money as their primary value or power, the many addictions of our present age, etc. These are sicknesses and are often not perceived as such by the persons suffering from them.
To receive Mercy, let us call out to the Lord from our own brokenness and ask for Mercy upon mercy upon mercy. To do this, we are invited to see ourselves as we really are in the light of the Resurrection of Jesus.
The second reading today is from the Book of Revelation. This is a vision of John and speaks to the incredible experience that he had in his own being. John bears witness to the transcendent power of God and to the Resurrection of Jesus. John is among the very first to witness to the Resurrection and one of the first to believe completely in the Resurrection. The challenge for us today is the same: believe in that which seems unbelievable at first. Only Mercy can help us.
Today's Gospel is also from John and is about the Apostle Thomas, who does not want to believe. Jesus comes right to Thomas and looks Thomas straight in the eyes and then asks: are you willing to believe now? So often our own experiences need to be interpreted in the light of our faith. If we keep our faith separate and insist on physical verification of everything, we won't believe. Instead, we are called to believe the witness of others and then, in the light of that witness, sometimes we meet the Lord face to face. Ah, the glory of such an encounter! Yet how much more is the faith of one who has not had that encounter and still believes! Always it is God's mercy, over and over it is mercy.
On this Sunday of Divine Mercy in the Year of Divine Mercy, let us ask our Lord to show us His Mercy so that we may believe! In whatever we are lacking, may the Lord's Mercy fill our emptiness and draw us to deeper faith.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Acts 5.12-16
Second Reading: Revelation 1.9-11a, 12-13, 17-19
Gospel: John 20.19-31
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: