Divine Mercy Sunday - Easter 2 A

Readings

First Reading: Acts 2: 42-47
Second Reading: 1 Peter 1: 3-9
Gospel: John 20: 19-31

Anecdotes

1.    I spoke as a brother”: A Timemagazine issue in 1984 presented a startling cover. It pictured a prison cellwhere two men sat on metal folding chairs, facing each other, up close andpersonal. They spoke quietly so as to keep others from hearing theconversation. The young man was Mehmet Ali Agca, the pope’s would-be assassin;the other man was Pope John Paul II, the intended victim. The pope held thehand that had held the gun and shot the bullet which tore into the pope’s body.John Paul wanted this scene to be shown around a world filled with nucleararsenals and unforgiving hatreds. This was a living icon of mercy. The pope hadbeen preaching forgiveness and reconciliation constantly. His deed with AliAgca spoke a thousand words. He embraced his enemy and pardoned him. At the endof their 20-minute meeting, Ali Agca raised the pope’s hand to his forehead asa sign of respect. John Paul shook Ali Agca’s hand tenderly. When the pope leftthe cell he said, “I spoke to him as a brother whom I have pardoned and who hasmy complete trust.” This is an example of God’s divine mercy, the same divinemercy to which St. Faustina bore obedient witness. (http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0308.asp)

  St.Faustina and the Image of the Divine Mercy: St. Faustina ofPoland is the well known apostle of Divine Mercy. Onthe 30th of April, 2000, the Second Sunday of Easter, at 10:00 a.m.,His Holiness Pope John Paul II celebrated the Eucharist in Saint Peter’s Squareand proceeded to the canonization of Blessed Sister Faustina. The new Saint invites us by the witness ofher life to keep our faith and hope fixed on God the Father, rich in mercy, whosaved us by the precious blood of His Son. During her short life, theLord Jesus assigned to St. Faustina three basictasks: 1. to pray for souls, entrusting them to God's incomprehensible Mercy;2. to tell the world about God's Generous Mercy; 3. to start a new movement inthe Church focusing on God's Mercy. Atthe canonization of Sr. Faustina, Pope John Paul IIsaid: “The cross, even after the Resurrection of the Son of God, speaks andnever ceases to speak of God the Father, who is absolutely faithful to His eternallove for man. ... Believing in this love means believing in mercy." “The Lord ofDivine Mercy” a drawing of Jesus based on the vision given to St. Faustina, shows Jesus raising his right hand in a gestureof blessing, with his left hand on his heart from which gush forth tworays, one red and one white. The picturecontains the message, "Jesus, I trust in You!"(Jezu ufam Tobie). The rays streamingout have symbolic meaning: red for the bloodof Jesus, which is the life ofsouls and white for the water which justifies souls. The whole image issymbolic of the mercy, forgiveness and love of God.
  1. Mercy in the midst oftragedy:The news is filled with illustrations of mercy—or the need for mercy—in ourworld. One of the most moving stories came to us on October 6, 2006, when anarmed man entered an Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. He chasedout the little boys and lined up the 10 little girls in front of theblackboard. He shot all of them and then killed himself. Five of the girlsdied. After the medics and police left, the families of the fallen came andcarried their slain children home. They removed their bloody clothes and washedthe bodies. They sat for a time and mourned their beloved children. After awhile they walked to the home of the man who killed their children. They toldhis widow they forgave her husband for what he had done, and they consoled herfor the loss of her spouse. They buried their anger before they buried theirchildren. Amish Christians teach us that forgiveness is central. They believein a real sense that God’s forgiveness of themselves depends on their extendingforgiveness to other people. That’s what the mercy of God is all about. Thatmercy is why we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. (Rev. Alfred McBride, O.Praem: Catholic Update – March 2008).
Introduction

Thereadings for this Sunday are about mercy, trust and the forgiveness ofsins. The opening prayeraddresses the Father as "God of Mercy." In the Psalm we repeatseveral times, "His mercy endures forever." “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;for His mercy endures forever!” (Ps118). Besides mentioning the word,our readings illustrate mercy in action. How does God reveal His mercy? He does so, first and foremost, by sendingHis only-begotten Son to become our Savior and Lord by his suffering, death andresurrection. Divine mercy is given to us in the celebration of the sacraments. The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles gives a summary, picturing the life of the earlyChristian community before the Jews and the Romans started theirpersecutions. It was a community which practiced sharing love, compassionand the mercy of God as taught by Jesus. It was also a witnessing community,deriving its strength from community prayer, “the Breaking of the Bread” andthe teachings of the apostles, which were read at the worship service. While the first reading from Acts calls our attention to the corporal works ofmercy (feed the hungry, clothe thenaked, shelter the homeless and so on), the second reading, from St.John's first letter, focuses on what arecalled the spiritual works of mercy (convert the sinner, counsel the doubtfuland bear wrongs patiently and the rest). Johnreminds us that everyone who claims to love God has to love the others whom Godhas begotten, namely, especially those who believe that Jesus is the Christ. Intoday’s gospel, we recallJesus’ appearance to the disciples on that first Easter evening. Theencounter vividly reminds us of the Sacrament of Reconciliation with its powerto forgive sins –the sacrament of divine mercy – which Our Lord gave to hisapostles: "Whose sins youforgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained" (Jn 20: 19-23). The Gospel also emphasizes theimportance of faith in the all-pervading presence ofthe Risen Lord, the Source of divine mercy, in the Christian community. We believe without having seen. We are invited to accept liberationfrom doubts and hesitation by surrendering our lives to the risen Lord ofmercy.
The first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, gives us asummary, picturing the life of the early Christian community before the Jewsand the Romans began their persecution. We get a glimpse of divine mercy in actionin today’s selection. The earlyChristians were so filled with the Holy Spirit that "no one claimed any ofhis possessions as his own." Rather, they "distributed to eachaccording to his need." It was a community which practiced the sharinglove, compassion and mercy taught by Jesus. It was a witnessingcommunity of “one heart and one mind,” bearing witness to the continuedpresence of the Risen Lord in their hearts and lives by holding everything incommon and distributing to each one according to his or her needs. In a laterportion of the Acts, we learn that the early Christian community derived itsstrength from community prayer, from “the Breaking of the Bread” and fromlistening to the teaching of the apostles. Owners of property were few amongthe early Christians, and the fact that they mixed lovingly at thislevel with the mass of common folk was astonishing. This passageimplies that the Christian community was assuming the nature of a familyand beginning to overcome distinctions based on wealth. Also, the authority accordedto the apostles is worthy of note. Furthermore, theapostles were beginning to take on the authority formerly granted toJewish priests.
The second reading (1 John 5:1-6) While the first reading from Acts, calls our attention tothe corporal works of mercy, the second reading from St. John's first letter focuses on both corporal and spiritualworks of mercy. John urges our obedience to the commandments given by God,especially the commandment of love as clarified by Jesus. Loving others as Jesus loves us, demands thatwe treat others with mercy andcompassion. John reminds us that everyone who claims to love God has to lovethe others whom God has begotten, especially those who believe that Jesus isthe Christ. We are to conquer the world by putting our faith in Jesus and inthe sacraments of baptism and the Holy Eucharist, two sacraments of divinemercy that Jesus instituted. The “water” refers to Jesus' baptism, at thebeginning of his ministry. The “blood” refers to Jesus' bloody death at the endof his ministry. Both refer to the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist.
In today’s gospel, as we recall Jesus’appearance to the disciples on that first Easter evening, we are vividlyreminded of the Sacrament of Reconciliation – the power to forgive sins whichOur Lord gave to his apostles: "Whosesins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain areretained" (Jn20-23). Today’s gospel also emphasizes the importance of faith in theall-pervading presence of the Risen Lord of mercy. To believe without having seen is every laterChristian’s experience. We areinvited to receive liberation from doubts and hesitation by surrenderingour lives to the risen Lord of mercy. Let us ask God our Father to open our hearts, so that we may receive hisMercy in the form of His Holy Spirit.

Exegesis

The first part of today’sGospel (verses 19-23), describes how Jesus entrusted to his apostles hismission of preaching the “good news” of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness andsalvation. This portion of the readingteaches us that Jesus uses the Church as the earthly means of continuing hismission. It also teaches us that the Church needs Jesus as its source ofpower and authority, and that it becomes Christ’s true messenger only when itperfectly loves and obeys him. First, Jesus gives them Peace, not as theworld gives but his own peace.Then, he breathes on the apostles, saying: “Receivethe Holy Spirit.” The significance of Jesus’ breathing is that theapostles are filled with the life–giving Holy Spirit. Finally, the risen Lord gives theapostles the authority to remit sins in his name: “Forthose whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins youretain, they are retained.” He gives the apostles the power of God’s mercyfor the sinner, the gift of forgiving sins from God’s treasury of mercy. This means that the mission of the apostles is to bring peopletogether as brothers and sisters, children of one God, by effecting a deep reconciliation ofpeople with God and with each other.For centuries in the liturgy, the Church has proclaimed the mercy of Godthrough the Word of God and the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. The text also reminds us that the clearestway of expressing our belief in the presence of the risen Jesus among us isthrough our own forgiveness of others. We can’t form a lasting Christiancommunity without such forgiveness. Unless we forgive others, ourcelebration of the Eucharist is just an exercise in liturgical rubrics.
The second partof the gospel (verses24-29) presents the fearless apostle St. Thomas, in his uncompromising honesty,demanding a personal vision of, and physical contact with, the risen Jesus as acondition for his belief. He needed tangible proof of the wounds ofthe nails in Jesus’ hands and feet and the wound in Jesus’ side. Thomas had not been with the disciples whenJesus first appeared to them. As aresult, he refused to believe. Thisshould serve as a warning to us. It isdifficult for us to believe when we do not strengthen ourselves with thefellowship of other believers. When He next appeared to the Apostles, Jesusaddressed Thomas challenging him: "Putyour finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in myside; do not be faithless, but believing"(v. 28). Thomas answered him,"My Lord and my God!" Jesusresponded, “Blessed are those who havenot seen but have believed.” Thomas was able toovercome his doubts by seeing and touching the risen Jesus. Modern Christians, who are no longer able to "see" Jesus with theireyes or touch Him with their hands, must believe what theyhear. That is why Paul reminds us that "faith comes from hearing"(Rom 10:17).
The unique professionof faith: Thomas,the “doubting apostle,” makes the great profession of faith, “My Lord and my God.” Here, the most outrageous doubter of theresurrection of Jesus utters the greatest confession of belief in the Lord whorose from the dead. This declaration by the “doubting apostle” intoday’s gospel is very significant for two reasons. 1) It is the foundationof our Christian faith. Our faith is based on the divinity of Jesusas proved by his miracles, especially by the supreme miracle of hisresurrection from the dead. Thomas’ profession of faith is the strongestevidence we have of the resurrection of Jesus. 2) Thomas’ faith culminatedin his self-surrender to Jesus, expressed in his heroic missionary expeditionto India in A.D. 52, his fearless preaching, and the powerful testimony givenby his martyrdom in A.D. 72.

Life messages :

1) We need tocelebrate and practice mercy: One way the Church celebrates God’s mercythroughout the year is through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Finding time for Adoration of the BlessedSacrament is another good way to receive Divine Mercy. The gospel command, "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful,"demands that we show mercy to our fellow human beings always andeverywhere. We radiate God's mercy toothers by our actions, our words, and our prayers. It is mainly through the corporal andspiritual works of mercy that we practice mercy in our daily lives and becomeeligible for God’s merciful judgment.
2) Because of our Faith, culminating inself-surrender to God, we need to love and serve our fellow human beings. Living faith enables us to see the risen Lord in everyone and gives usthe willingness to render to each one our loving service. (“Faith without good works is dead” James2:17). It was this faith in the Lord and obedience to his missionarycommand that prompted St. Thomas to travel to India to preach the gospelamong the Hindus, to establish seven Christian communities (known later as “St.Thomas Christians”) and, eventually, to face and suffer martyrdom. TheFathers of the Church prescribe the following traditional means to grow in theliving and dynamic faith of St. Thomas the Apostle. a) We need to come toknow Jesus personally and intimately in daily, meditative reading of theBible. b) We need to strengthen our faith by the power of the Holy Spiritthrough personal and community prayer. c) We need to share in the divinelife of Jesus by frequenting the sacraments of Reconciliation and the HolyEucharist. Mother Teresa presents itthis way: “If we pray, we will believe; if webelieve, we will love; if we love, we will serve. Only then we put our love ofGod into action.”
3) We need tolive a transparent Christian life -- "I will not believe unless I see." This "seeing" is what others demand of us. They ask that we reflect the Risen Lord Jesusin our lives by selfless love, unconditional forgiveness and humbleservice. The integrity of our lives bears a fundamental witness toothers, who want to see the Risen Lord alive and active, workingin our lives. Christ’smercy shines forth from us whenever we reach out to the poor, the needy and themarginalized, as Mother Teresa did. His mercy shines forth as we remainopen to those who struggle in faith, as did the Apostle Thomas in today’sGospel. We should be able to appreciate the presence of Jesus, crucifiedand raised, in our own suffering and in our suffering brothers and sisters,thus recognizing the glorified wounds of the Risen Lord in the suffering ofothers.
4) Like St.Thomas, we need to use our skepticism to help us grow in faith. It isour genuine doubts about the doctrines of our religion that encourage usto study these doctrines more closely and thus to grow in our faith. Thisprocess will naturally lead us to a personal encounter with Jesus throughprayer, stidying the Word of God, and frequenting the sacraments. However, we must never forget the fact that our faith is not our owndoing, but is a gift from God. Hence, we need to augment our faith everyday by prayer so that we may join St. Thomas in his proclamation: “My Lord and my God.”
5) We need to havethe courage of our convictions and share our faith as St. Thomas did. We are not to keep the gift of faith locked in our hearts, but to share it withour children, families and neighbors, always remembering the words of Pope JohnXXIII: “Every believer in this world must become a spark of Christ’s light.”

Additional Anecdotes

1) "Well, then, I will have mercy."  During the Napoleonic Wars, a young, battle-weary French soldier fell asleep while on guard duty. He was court-martialed, found guilty and sentenced to death. His widowed mother appealed her son's case to every level of command, to no avail.  Finally, in her persistence, she managed to obtain an audience with the Emperor himself.  Falling at his feet, the woman begged him to spare her son's life, explaining he was her only child and sole means of support.    "I do not ask for justice," she said, "I plead for mercy." "Madam, your son does not deserve mercy. He deserves to die,"   Napoleon said coldly.    The mother immediately replied, "You are right, sire, of course. That is why I am asking you for mercy. If he deserved, it would not be mercy."    The emperor was so touched by the logic of her words that he    pardoned the soldier. The Second Sunday of the Easter season invites us to reflect on God’s infinite love and mercy for His people, as detailed in the Bible and as lived and taught by Jesus, and to practice corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Shakespeare wrote, "It (mercy) droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven."
 
2) “Peace be with you.” Years ago, Rabbi Joshua Liebman wrote abest-selling book titled Peace of Mind.After the publication of this book, Rabbi Liebman was swamped with letters frompeople seeking peace. His mail was heavy; his telephone rang constantly; manypeople came to see him. He was a young, kind-hearted rabbi, only 38 years old.He tried to help everyone who contacted him. He died just three years later atthe age of 41. He just could not stand up to the burden. But before he died, hesaid, "I am appalled at the multitude of people who have never learned toempty their minds." [Charles L. Allen, God'sSeven Wonders For You (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Co.,1987.)]
The first word that Jesus spoke to his disciples gathered together after hisresurrection was the word, "Peace."
3) Mayor’smercy: One night in 1935, Fiorello H. La Guardia, mayor of New York City, showed upat a night court in the poorest ward of the city. He dismissed the judge for the evening andtook over the bench. One case involvedan elderly woman who was caught stealing bread to feed her grandchildren. La Guardia said, "I've got to punish you. Ten dollars or ten days injail." As he spoke, he threw $10 into his hat. He thenfined everyone in the courtroom 50 cents for living in a city "where anold woman had to steal bread so that her grandchildren should notstarve." The hat was passed around, and the woman left the courtroomwith her fine paid and an additional $47.50.
4) "Weeping Mary:" On May 7,1985, an Eastern Orthodox monk named Father Pangratios was cleaning the chapelof the Christ of the Hills Monastery in Blanco, Texas. At first FatherPangratios thought nothing of it when he discovered that one of the icons ofthe virgin Mary had moisture on it. When he wiped the moisture off, however, hesmelled the familiar fragrance of myrrh. He was curious, but thought it aone-time occurrence, and saying a quick prayer, he left for other duties.Returning a few hours later, he found that this same icon of Mary appeared tobe "weeping." The tears continued, and after a full investigation bychurch officials, the Russian Orthodox church declared the "weepingMary" to be a miraculous event. It was not to be the cause of celebration,however. They declared it "a call to repentance." Father Pangratiosobserved, "God is saddened by our sins. He wants us to change our lives tofasting and prayer, love of God and neighbor." The tears of the weepingMary reportedly resulted in miraculous healings for some. Blind twins had theirsight restored after an anointing. A woman with cancer spontaneously recovered.A man due brain surgery found it unnecessary. And cases of mental illness anddepression disappeared. Even today, as thousands of people visit Christ of theHills monastery, the icon still weeps its fragrant oil. [Sandra Gurvis, Way Station to Heaven (New York, NY:Simon and Schuster Macmillan, Inc., 1996), pp. 177-179.] (From a sermon,"Number One in the Nation," by Don Emmitte.) A major magazine reportsthat 76 percent of Americans believe in miracles and 39 percent reported thatthey had "personally experienced or witnessed a miracle." [“FaithPopcorn & Lys Marigold, Clicking--17 Trends That Drive Your . . . (NewYork: HarperBusiness, 1997), p. 107.] But here is the important message of ourScripture lesson: JESUS PRAISED FAITH IN THE ABSENCE OF SIGNS AND MIRACLES.Jesus says to Thomas in today’s gospel:"Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who havenot seen and yet believe." Authentic Christian faith does not dependon signs and miracles!
5) "The Last Supper painting:"When Leonardo da Vinci was painting his masterpiece, "The LastSupper," we are told that he had a quarrel with one of his companions. Inrevenge for the wrong he had received, he painted his companion's portrait asJudas in his great picture. After he had done this, his work was completeexcept for the face of our blessed Lord. It was da Vinci's ambition to paintthe noblest and most perfect portrait of Christ that had ever been put oncanvas; but try as he did, he could not succeed. In the meantime, hisconscience was working, and at last he took his brush and painted out hiscompanion's portrait and forgave him his wrong. That night in his dreams daVinci saw a splendorous vision of Christ which thousands have gazed at inwonder ever since. In today’s gospel Jesus authorizes his apostles: If you forgive the sins of any, they areforgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
6) "Receivethe Holy Spirit." The discipleswere being consecrated into service, imbued with the power of the Spirit:"Receive the Holy Spirit." At age 30, Florence Nightingale made thisentry in her diary: "I am now 30 years of age, the age at which Christbegan his mission. Now, no more childish things, no more vain things! Now,Lord, let me think only of Thy will." Someone asked her years later, asher illustrious career and exceptional life began to wind down, "What isthe secret of your good life?" She replied, "I can offer only oneexplanation and it is this, I have held nothing back from God." Jesus wasasking the disciples to hold nothing back. The Holy Spirit stands ready now toconsecrate us into his service, but we must hold nothing back. There is arather well-traveled poem which has been passed around to such extent that theauthor's name has become obscured. It is a somewhat unsettling bit of verse inthat it relates an all-too-common response to the alternative of totalconsecration:
"I'll go where you wantme to go, dear Lord, real service is what I desire. I’ll say what you want meto say, dear Lord, But don't ask me to sing in the choir. I’ll say what youwant me to say, dear Lord, I like to see things come to pass, But don't ask meto teach girls and boys, dear Lord. I’d rather just stay in my class. I’ll dowhat you want me to do, dear Lord, I yearn for the kingdom to thrive. I’ll giveyou my nickels and dimes, dear Lord. But please don't ask me to tithe. I’ll gowhere you want me to go, dear Lord. I’ll say what you want me to say. I’m busyjust now with myself dear Lord, I’ll help you some other day."
7) "Hi, What's the good word?" A student from Korea was complaining abouthow difficult it was to learn the English language. He felt that Americanidioms were particularly difficult to comprehend. He said that he had studiedEnglish for nine years in preparation for attending the University of Illinoisat Champaign-Urbana. On his first day at the school, as he was walking acrossthe campus, an American student casually greeted him with, "Hi, What's thegood word?" The Korean boy stopped dead in his tracks. He thought tohimself: "I don't know ‘the good word’! You would have thought that afternine years of studying English, someone would have told me what ‘the good word'was!"
Later, trying to solve this puzzle, he decided to turn the tables and ask anAmerican, "What's the good word?" and listen to his reply. So,approaching a fellow student, he repeated, "Hi! What's the goodword?" The quick response was, "Oh, not much. How about you?" Itwas obvious that neither of these students knew what the good word was. It's arather plastic greeting. But I can tell you the good word for today: Christ theLord is risen. [Roger E. Axtell, Do's andTaboos of Humor Around the World (New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.,1999), p. 13.]
8) “Peace be with you.” During thetime for questions after a presidential lunch, somebody asked President Bushhow the event of 9/11 changed him personally. He responded with a long speechabout being whisked away to a military base and informed that the United Stateswas under attack. He described in great detail the ultra-secure bunker in theWhite House where he, Laura, Vice President Cheney and a few others spent thenight. More importantly, he talked about the fear that pervaded the place andhow he searched for the right words to address the American people. Fear hauntsus in the night. Fear stalks us in the day. We have become a people of fear. Weare terrified of violence, afraid of strangers, worried about the future, anduncertain about the economy. We know what it is to be afraid. We conquer ourfears by facing them. Just as you prevent an accident by steering into theslide, so you overcome fears by tackling them head on. Oh, that today, thisvery moment, the risen Christ would break through our walls of isolation andspeak a word of peace. Fear imprisons and faith liberates. Fear paralyzes andfaith empowers. Fear disheartens and faith encourages. Fear sickens and faithheals. “May the Peace of Christ be with you.” “And with your spirit.” (L/12)

Jokes

1) Trafficcop’s mercy: A priest was forced by a traffic policeman, to pull overfor speeding. As the cop was about to write the ticket, thepriest said to him, "Blessedare the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." Thecop handed the priest the ticket and said, "Go, and sin no more."
2) Photographer’smercy: The story is told of a politician who, after receiving the proofs ofa picture, was very angry with the photographer. He stormed back tothe man's studio and screamed at him: "This picture does not dome justice!" The photographerreplied, "Sir, with a face like yours, what you need is mercy, notjustice!"


SYNOPSIS FOR EASTER II (APRIL 15) ON JN 20: 19-31

Introduction
Thereadings for this Sunday are about God’s mercy, the necessity for trustingfaith and the need for God’s forgiveness of sins. The opening prayer addresses theFather as "God of Mercy." Inthe responsorial psalm we repeat several times, “Give thanks to theLord, for He is good; for His mercy endures forever!” (Ps 118). God revealed His mercy, first and foremost,by sending His only-begotten Son to become our Savior and Lord by hissuffering, death and resurrection. Divine mercy is given to us also in each celebration of thesacraments.
Scripture Lessons

The first reading stresses the corporal acts of mercy practiced by the early Christiancommunity before the Jews andthe Romans started their persecutions. Practicing the sharing love,compassion and mercy of God as Jesus taught, this witnessing community derivedits strength from community prayer, “the Breaking of the Bread” and theapostles’ teaching, read at the worship service. Thesecond reading: After focusing on the spiritual works of mercy such as: convertthe sinner, counsel the doubtful and bear wrongs patiently, John reminds us that everyone whoclaims to love God has to love the others whom God has begotten, especiallythose who believe that Jesus is the Christ. Today’s gospel vividly reminds us of how Jesus institutedthe Sacrament of Reconciliation, a sacrament of divine mercy. The Risen Lord gave his apostles the power toforgive sins by the words, “Whose sinsyou forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained"(Jn 20: 19-23). Presenting the doubting Thomas’ famous profession of faith, “My Lord and my God,” the Gospel shows usJesus’ mercy in action and emphasizes the importance of faith.

Life Messages

1) We need tocelebrate and practice mercy: One way the Church celebrates God’s mercythroughout the year is through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Finding time for Adoration of the BlessedSacrament is another good way to receive and give thanks for Divine Mercy. It is mainly through the corporal andspiritual works of mercy that we practice mercy in our daily lives and becomeeligible for God’s merciful judgment.
2) Because of our Faith and self-surrender toGod, we need to love and serve our fellow human beings. Livingfaith enables us to see the risen Lord in everyone and gives us the willingnessto render to each one our loving service. The spiritual Fathersprescribe the following traditional means to grow in the living and dynamicfaith of St. Thomas the Apostle so that we may practice mercy as Jesusdid: a) First, we need to come to know Jesus personally and intimately bydaily, meditative reading of the Bible. b) Next, we need to strengthenour faith through personal and community prayer. c) Third, we need toshare in the divine life of Jesus by frequenting the sacraments ofReconciliation and the Holy Eucharist.