AD SENSE

Easter 2 Sunday A - Divine Mercy



Starters: From Fr. Tony Kadavil’s Collection:   


1: Divine Mercy in action: 

 A TIME magazine issue in 1984 presented a startling cover. It pictured a prison cell where two men sat on metal folding chairs. The young man wore a black turtleneck sweater, blue jeans and white running shoes. The older man was dressed in a white robe and had a white skullcap on his head. They sat facing one another,  up-close and personal. They spoke quietly so as to keep others from hearing the conversation. The young man was Mehmet Ali Agca, the pope’s would-be assassin (he shot and wounded the Pope on May 13, 1981); the other man was Pope John Paul II, the intended victim. The Pope held the hand that had held the gun whose bullet tore into the Pope’s body. This was a living icon of mercy. John Paul’s forgiveness was deeply Christian. His deed with Ali Agca spoke a thousand words. He embraced his enemy and pardoned him. At the end of their 20-minute meeting, Ali Agca raised the Pope’s hand to his forehead as a sign of respect. John Paul shook Ali Agca’s hand tenderly. When the Pope left the cell he said, “What we talked about must remain a secret between us. I spoke to him as a brother whom I have pardoned and who has my complete trust.” This is an example of God’s Divine Mercy, the same Divine Mercy whose message St. Faustina witnessed.  

2.      "Well, then, I will have mercy."  Emperor Napoleon was moved by a mother's plea for pardon for her soldier son. However, the emperor said that since it was the man’s second major offense, justice demanded death. "I do not ask for justice," implored the mother, "I plead for mercy." "But," said the emperor, "he does not deserve mercy." "Sir," cried the mother, "it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for." The compassion and clarity of the mother's logic prompted Napoleon to respond, "Well, then, I will have mercy." (Luis Palau, Experiencing God's Forgiveness, Multnomah Press, 1984.) 
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 the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.  

3.     St. Faustina and the Image of the Divine Mercy:  

St. Faustina of Poland is the well known apostle of Divine Mercy. On the 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 Square and proceeded to the canonization of Blessed Sister FAUSTINA. The new Saint invites us by the witness of her life to keep our faith and hope fixed on God, the Father, rich in mercy, who saved us by the precious blood of His Son. During her short life, the Lord Jesus assigned St. Faustina three basic tasks: 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 in the Church focusing on God's Mercy. At the canonization of Sr. Faustina, Pope John Paul II said: “The cross, even after the Resurrection of the Son of God, speaks and never ceases to speak of God the Father, who is absolutely faithful to His eternal love for man.... 

Believing in this love means believing in mercy." “The Lord of Divine Mercy” a drawing of Jesus based on the vision given to St. Faustina, shows Jesus raising his right hand in a gesture of blessing, with his left hand on his chest from which gush forth two rays, one red and one white. The picture contains the message "Jesus, I trust in You!" (Jezu ufam Tobie). The rays streaming out have symbolic meaning: red for the blood of Jesus, which is the life of souls and white for the water which justifies souls. The whole image is symbolic of the mercy, forgiveness and love of God. 

4.      Mayor’s mercy:   

One night in 1935, Fiorello H. La Guardia, mayor of New York, showed up at a night court in the poorest ward of the city. He dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench. One case involved an 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 in jail."  
As he spoke, he threw $10 into his hat. He then fined everyone in the courtroom 50 cents for living in a city "where an old woman had to steal bread so that her grandchildren should not starve." The hat was passed around, and the woman left the courtroom with her fine paid and an additional $47.50.   
5.     Traffic cop’s mercy:  
Thomas search leads to most explicit act of faith in the New Testament.A priest was forced, by a traffic police, to pull over for speeding. As the cop was about to write the ticket, the priest said to him, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." The cop handed the priest the ticket, and said, "Go, and sin no more." 
6.     Photographer’s mercy:
The story is told of a politician who, after receiving the proofs of a picture, was very angry with the photographer. He stormed back to the man's studio and screamed at him: "This picture does not do me justice!" The photographer replied, "Sir, with a face like yours, what you need is mercy, not justice!"

 *****
Gospel text : John 20:19-31


Thomas’ search leads to most explicit act of faith in the New Testament.

Michel de Verteuil
General comments
Today’s gospel reading, like all of St John’s gospel, is an interweaving of several themes. It is not possible to follow up all the themes together; we must focus on one at a time, going deeply into it and allowing it to reveal some deep truth about Jesus, about ourselves and about life.
In this reflection I invite you to focus on the apostle Thomas; this is in accord with the Church’s liturgical tradition for the Second Sunday of Easter. Therefore, although the reading includes two of Jesus’ resurrection appearances – both of them deeply moving – we stay with the second, the dialogue between Jesus and Thomas, and let the earlier appearance provide the context. We are free to identify either with Thomas or with Jesus, but not with both at the same time.We need to be clear on how we understand Thomas. The popular interpretation puts him in a bad light, as “doubting Thomas”. This, however, is not the movement of the text which culminates in Thomas’ admirable act of faith, the most explicit in the New Testament – “My Lord and my God”. We are more in accord with the spirit of the text, therefore, when we look at Thomas as a model of faith. He was right to insist that before he could believe in Jesus’ resurrection, he must see the holes the nails made in his hands, put his finger into the holes and his hand into the great wound made by the centurion’s lance.

Thomas then teaches us the important lesson that we must not separate the resurrection from the cross, since we are called to be followers of Jesus. He also teaches us the truth of the Church and of our individual spiritual growth. We cannot live the life of grace, the “risen life”, authentically unless we bear in our bodies the wounds of the cross. This means being conscious that we develop the capacity to love and to be loved only by dying to ourselves. Our wounds are also a constant reminder of our frailty and that it is God’s grace that raises us up to new life.
St Paul’s epistles show that the first Christians needed the corrective of Thomas’ faith. They tended to relate with the risen Jesus without reference to his crucifixion. They forgot that they were called to be “followers of Jesus crucified,” choosing to die with him so that they could rise with him (see especially 1 Corinthians 1).
We Christians fall into the same error today when our lives and our teachings proclaim an abstract “disembodied” Jesus, dispenser of graces and teacher of morality; we forget the historical person who was put to death for proclaiming the kingdom of God.
Thomas professes the true faith of the church. We too must insist that the Jesus we follow is the true Jesus, the one whose risen body bears the wounds of Calvary.
Jesus is the model leader and spiritual guide. He is pleased to give Thomas the assurance he is looking for, and then challenges him to look forward to the day when he will believe without seeing – always in the Jesus who passes through death to resurrection.
The blessedness of believing without seeing came from the experience of the early church. Jesus is not moralising but inviting Thomas (and us) to celebrate great people of faith – in our communities and worldwide – who take up their cross with confidence in the resurrection.
As always in our meditation we must not limit ourselves to personal relationships. We celebrate the resurrection faith lived by communities, nations and cultures.

Scripture prayer
You who remain ever faithful even when we are unfaithful, forgive our sins        and grant that we may bear true witness to you before all men and women.” 
 Pope John Paul II, Service of Forgiveness, March 2000


unity Lord, we thank you for the moments of grace of this Lenten season
when, as individuals and as a church community,
we walked in the footsteps of Jesus by passing from death to new    life.
We thank you in particular for the great day
when our Church publicly asked forgiveness from other religions and cultures.
We thank you for good Pope John XXIII who opened up the papacy and the Church for a new age with the Vatican II council and
Pope John Paul who, like Jesus with St Thomas,
invited us to see the holes that the nails of arrogance and self-righteousness  made into the body of Christ, and to put our fingers into the holes,
to put our hands into the huge wound which the lust for power made in his side,
so that we would recognise how, just as you raised Jesus from the dead,
you do not allow his Body, the Church, to remain in the tomb,
but always raise her up to new life.

Lord, we thank you for the times when reconciliation emerged triumphantly
from the tomb of conflict:
– the spirit of dialogue between our Church and Jews, Muslims,
Hindus and African traditional religions;
– the European Union created by former enemies;
– the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland;
– the peace process in the Middle East.
Do not let us forget the terrible legacy of hatred and resentment
which had to be overcome;
invite us to put our fingers into the holes made by the nails,
our hands into the great wound made by lances,
so that we can recognise with awe and wonder
the spark of your divine life that is within us all.
Remind us too of those who worked for peace during the long years of conflict
when they seemed to be working in vain.
How blessed were they who did not see
and yet continued to believe in your power to bring new life into the world.

Whoever sees anything of God, sees nothing of God.”   ..Meister Eckhart
Lord, lead us to the blessedness of not seeing and believing.
    “Go for broke, always try to  do too much, dispense with safety nets, aim for the stars.” 
… Salman Rushdie

forgiveness-loveLord, we thank you for friends, leaders and spiritual guides
who challenge us as Jesus challenged Thomas.
When we commit ourselves to a cause because we have tested its reality,
they invite us to experience the blessedness of believing without seeing.

Beware of the seduction of leaving the poor to think about them.”    Jean Vanier

Lord, forgive us that we want to help those in need without sharing their pain;
we look for their resurrection but do not want to see their wounds:
– young people have been deeply hurt and we serve them with pious exhortations;
– we become impatient with those who continue to mourn the death of a spouse or a child;
– we think we can restore a broken relationship by merely saying we are sorry;
– we propose reconciliation between warring factions without acknowledging past wrongs;
– we pray for peace in the world and do not agonize over its terrible injustices.
We thank you for people like Thomas who will not let us away with easy solutions;
they insist that we must see the holes nails have made in the hands of victims,
put our fingers into the holes and our hands into wounds lances have made in their sides,
and only then believe that they have within them the capacity to rise to new life.

We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, 
        the exact nature of our wrongs.” ...Step 5 of the Twelve Step Method of Alcoholics Anonymous 
Lord, when we are converted from an addiction to alcohol, drugs, power, or sex
we are so anxious to make a new start
that we forget the hurt which was at the root of our problem,
– the loneliness of our childhood,
– the sense of racial inferiority,
– our disability,
– the fear of failure.
We thank you for sending us friends who insist
that we must face the reality of the past.
We pray that like Jesus welcoming Thomas,
we will invite them to put their fingers into the holes the nails have made
and their hands into our sides,
so that they can walk with us in our new life.

**************************************************
Thomas O’Loughlin 
Introduction to the Celebration

Characteristic of the people who rejoice in the Lord’s victory over death is that they gather regularly for ‘the breaking of the bread’. In this action we recognise the presence of the risen Christ and are invited to see that as we share a single loaf and cup, so we share in his new life. This new life has the promise of overcoming division, sin, and death: but are we really prepared to share with those around us? And if we are willing to accept forgiveness from the risen Lord, are we also ready to offer forgiveness?

Homily notes
1. There is a theme running through all the readings today which captures a key sense of the whole liturgy – that we as Christians live in ‘in-between’ times. On the one hand, we cry out that ‘Christ is truly risen, Alleluia’ (the great Easter slogan) and death has been put to flight; but on the other hand, we know we must walk by faith for around us there is no shortage of greed, death and destruction. Here is the great tension of discipleship: we must believe that Christ has conquered (or else Christian faith is meaningless) and we must work to bring it about. In short, we live and act in hope. Down the centuries many have tried to resolve this tension in favour of either believing or working (this is the ‘Pelagius v Augustine’ debate that has polarised so much western theology) rather than seeing in this tension the very structure of human life: we must grow to become what we most truly are. In Easter terms, we know that Christ has conquered and so life does not end in death, but this new life must be established both in our hearts (through having a new imagination whereby we view the world in terms of what it can become through love, generosity and forgiveness), and in the world through our Christian action.
Pope Francis invites us to take up Jesus' challenge2. We see this tension of what-God-has-established:and what is yet-to-come brought out clearly in 1 Pet. The Christians rejoice in their new birth as sons and daughters of God, but they cannot escape the difficulties and demands of life. The author sought to explain this tension by carrying forward the metaphor of being children of the Father. Whoever is a child of the Father is an heir to the kingdom, but as a human inheritance (i.e. that which belongs to the children) requires waiting, so this divine inheritance is not being given to us yet but being held for us in heaven. But why does God require us to wait? This time of waiting through difficulties is explained as God wishing us to undergo a time of testing and purification.

Pope Francis invites us to take up Jesus’ challenge
While we may not find this explanation convincing, nor like the implications of imagining God using our lives as a training-ground – for that invites the impious fixing of the metaphor in presenting God testing some of his children to destruction – we must confront the same basic question to our believing that that author faced: we believe Christ has conquered, yet we experience death and pain as all too real around us. If we do nothing else in the homily today than acknowledge this basic dilemma of faith, we will have done much.
images3. It is all too easy to pretend that the dilemma does not exist or, at least, would not bother us if we were ‘proper’ believers. One of the common surrogates for Christian faith is presenting Christianity as giving some immediate reward: a happier or more contented life, material benefits, or some notion of having a ‘God on your side’ – this is the sales-pitch of the televangelists. Equally, many wonder why ‘bad things happen to good people’ – the nagging doubt about the ‘value’ of faith when it ‘seems to make no difference’ whether one is a believer or not. Both positions ignore the basic Christian dynamic: Christ promises us the kingdom, but does so while challenging his followers to build it in their lives and world. The kingdom is not a child’s wonderland were we are simply lodged by an indulgent parent, but the completion of our human work that must engage our wills, our skills, and our hearts. Thus our faith involves (1) waiting (hope) and (2) the confrontation of the selfishness that creates suffering in our world other-focused love (agape/caritas). While we may not want to see these sufferings in terms of a divine testing as does 1 Pet, we must recognise when we shout ‘Christ is risen’, we do so with the sober realisation that suffering is part of the human condition and that belief requires challenging every attitude and action that contributes to that suffering. Fortitude and courage are Christian virtues.

4. There is another matter we should note today. This liturgy takes place on ‘the octave day’ of Easter and, historically, this day was seen as completing the’ great day of resurrection’ that has lasted since the Easter Vigil. Such a notion of a ‘ great day’ is beyond the imagination of most people in our society. For almost everyone this is just another weekend and the ‘long weekend’ of Easter already seems long past. So there is a dissonance between the liturgy, and perhaps its president declaring how special today is, and the average person’s emotions. There is no simple answer to this phenomenon: the twentieth century saw the secularisation of time into just two categories of ‘work [time]’ and ‘time-off’ where material production was the measure of human life. In the process, the religious notion of stressed (high days) and unstressed time (ordinary time) disappeared, and with it the notion that human activity fits into a greater harmonious pattern seen in such regularities as the tides and the seasons. However, this crisis of sacred time is not helped when the actual liturgy in a parish has a single tone from Sunday to Sunday and that es­sential of sacred time, differences between day and day, is not felt by those celebrating. Today the liturgy expects us to continue the tone of Easter Sunday in such a way that the feel of this day is notably more special than that of the Sundays that will follow. This presents each community with the need to think about how they celebrate, and how they can mark this time as special.
5. One way of marking the central quality of Easter Day and this Sunday is to pick up the theme from Acts 2 where Luke sees the weekly gathering for the Eucharist as what is charac­teristically Christian. The symbolism that underlies Luke’s eucharistic theology is not that of bread and wine as specific food-materials, but that the baptised participants are united in Christ through each having as their food what is a portion in a single loaf and a single cup: hence his term ‘the breaking of the loaf’. However, this aspect of eucharistic symbolism is lost in our practice where we have individual mini-loaves (a round particle indicates a whole unit and is the very opposite of something broken for sharing), and either many cups (symbolic impoverishment) or, even worse, where the cup is not shared by the president with the other participants (sym­bolic famine). Making this breaking and eating shares of a single loaf, and drinking from a common cup, the central practical part of the celebration, with all its difficulties,delays, and need for explanation, will mark out this day as no amount of words or banners or peripheral decorations can.
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John Litteton
Gospel Reflection
Pope Francis goes to Confession.When we celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation, we are assured that our sins are forgiven and that we will have God’s help to avoid sin in the future.
What is a sacrament? A sacrament is an outward sign of an inward grace. There are seven such sacraments in the Catholic Church. However, the seven sacraments are not simply signs like other signs in our lives. Unlike other signs and symbols, the sacraments are signs or symbols that bring about in our lives what they signify.
For example, although we might say that a washing machine is a symbol of cleanliness, we know that it is much more than that because it actually does what it symbolises: it cleans. In the same way a sacrament signifies an actual meeting — a personal encounter — with the risen Lord Jesus. Thus the sacrament of reconciliation is not just a sign or symbol of God’s forgiveness. Through it, we are truly absolved from our sins. The sacrament does what it signifies.

Pope Francis goes to Confession.
In celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation, what, we may ask, is the inward grace being celebrated? It is the process of the inner change that is happening because of conversion away from the darkness of sin towards the radiant light of Christ. But this inner change is not outwardly recognisable, precisely because it is interior to the penitent’s life. Therefore, there needs to be some outward sign that, in some way, manifests the inner change that is occurring.
For the sacrament to be celebrated properly, the penitent first confesses his / her sins. The naming of the sins in the presence of the priest indicates that the penitent is accepting personal responsibility for them.
The sheer joy of forgiveness and burdens liftedSecondly, the penitent expresses genuine sorrow for the sins by praying the act of contrition. Again, the vocalising of this prayer is a sign of the penitent’s sorrow and desire for conversion.
Thirdly, and crucially, the priest speaks the words of absolution that, because of the grace of ordination, mediate God’s forgiveness. As the penitent listens to the words of absolution and sees the priest make the sign of the cross, the penitent realises that his! her sins are forgiven.

Fourthly, and finally, the penitent performs the penance given by the priest. The penance is another outward sign of the inward grace. The penance in itself does not undo the harm caused by the sins but is simply a gesture on the penitent’s part that the process of interior conversion is progressing. Nonetheless, the penance is an important activity that demonstrates outwardly what is happening inwardly in the penitent’s life.

The sheer joy of forgiveness and
burdens lifted
We all need to experience reconciliation in our lives. The sacrament of reconciliation enables us to experience God’s forgiveness for our sins. Through the outward signs of confessing sins, praying the act of contrition, receiving absolution and doing the penance, we demonstrate our interior conversion and we complete the process of sacramental reconciliation.
For meditation
Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.  (Jn 20:22-23)

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Fr Donal Neary, S.J
Thanks, Thomas!
Thomas … thanks! For bringing honesty into our faith. He didn’t pretend that he was better than he was. He began by wanting proof and ended by being glad of faith. He is the patron saint of transitions and steps in faith. Faith is a journey. He is the saint of faith in our times. The community was the place he found faith, having lost it when he tried to go it alone. Then he came back to
the community of faith and went on a journey of life that took him to martyrdom in India.

He also found Christ in wanting to touch his wounds. We find God when we enter into his wounds in the wounds of our world.
In the faith community of the church we can keep our faith. Our faith grows here too. Thomas looked for faith by wanting to touch the wounds of Jesus. When Jesus invited him to do so, he found he didn’t need to. He found faith in being present with the wounded Christ and discovered there his faith in the glory of Christ.
We can do the same. What was said to Thomas is said to us all: ‘You believe because you can see me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.’
Recall those who have strengthened your faith and be grateful;
picture each person and pray for each of them.
Lord, I believe, strengthen my belief

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Connections:

THE WORD:
The Gospel for the Second Sunday of Easter (for all three years of the Lectionary cycle) is Act 2 of John’s Easter drama.

Scene 1 takes place on Easter night.  The terrified disciples are huddled together, realizing that they are marked men because of their association with the criminal Jesus.  The Risen Jesus appears in their midst with his greeting of “peace.”  John clearly has the Genesis story in mind when the evangelist describes Jesus as “breathing” the Holy Spirit on his disciples:  Just as God created man and woman by breathing life into them (Genesis 2: 7), the Risen Christ re-creates humankind by breathing the new life of the Holy Spirit upon the eleven.

In scene 2, the disciples excitedly tell the just-returned Thomas of what they had seen.  Thomas responds to the news with understandable skepticism.  Thomas had expected the cross (see John 11: 16 and 14: 5) – and no more.
The climactic third scene takes place one week later, with Jesus’ second appearance to the assembled community – this time with Thomas present.  He invites Thomas to examine his wounds and to “believe.”  Christ’s blessing in response to Thomas’ profession of faith exalts the faith of every Christian of every age who “believes without seeing”; all Christians who embrace the Spirit of the Risen One possess a faith that is in no way different less than that of the first disciples.  The power of the Resurrection transcends time and place.



HOMILY POINTS:
We trace our roots as parish and faith communities to Easter night when Jesus “breathed” his spirit of peace and reconciliation upon his frightened disciples, transforming them into the new Church.
The “peace” that Christ gives his new Church is not a passive sense of good feeling or the mere absence of conflict.  Christ’s peace is hard work: the peace of the Easter Christ is to honor one another as children of the same Father in heaven; the peace of the Easter Christ seeks to build bridges and find solutions rather than assigning blame or extracting punishment; the peace of Christ is centered in relationships that are just, ethical and moral.  
The “peace” that the Risen Christ breathes into us at Easter shows us a way out of those tombs in which we bury ourselves; the forgiveness he extends enables us to get beyond the facades we create and the rationalizations we devise to justify them.  
Jesus’ entrusting to the disciples the work of forgiveness is what it means to be the church: to accept one another, to affirm one another, to support one another as God has done for us in the Risen Christ.  What brought the apostles and first Christians together as a community – unity of heart, missionary witness, prayer, reconciliation and healing – no less powerfully binds us to one another as the Church of today.
While today’s Gospel has been ready by the Church as Jesus’ instituting the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the whole Christian community possesses the power to “forgive” and “retain,” and the grace to “bind” and “loosen.”  The Risen Christ gives to every one of us the “power,” the “authority,” the grace to forgive and to bind one another in love.   
All of us, at one time or another, experience the doubt and skepticism of Thomas:  While we have heard the good news of Jesus’ empty tomb, all of our fears, problems and sorrows prevent us from realizing it in our own lives.  In raising his beloved Son from the dead, God also raises our spirits to the realization of the totality and limitlessness of his love for us.  
We all have scars from our own Good Fridays that remain long after our own experiences of resurrection.  Our “nail marks” remind us that all pain and grief, all ridicule and suffering are transformed into healing and peace in the love of God we experience from others and that we extend them. 



Nail marks
It has happened to all of us.  We discover that we are better people than we think we are.  The parish puts out a call for volunteers.  There aren’t enough hours in the day as it is — and you can’t imagine yourself contributing anything meaningful to help the elderly, the homeless, the poor, or kids — especially (God help us!) teenagers.  But once you begin, you find a real joy working with these folks.  You look forward to these couple of hours.  You realize that you have been changed as much as those you have touched.
Or you walk into the cafeteria and the only place left is next to her.  She’s nice enough but painfully shy — she barely says hello to anyone.  You sit down and say Hi.  You’re taken back by the welcome and graciousness in her quiet Hello.  The ice is broken; a friendship begins — all because you were willing to risk a simple Hello.
Or a beloved family member or friend is critically ill.  You feel helpless.  You’d like to go and be with them — but you’re afraid you may say the wrong thing; you fear that in your clumsiness and awkwardness you may do more harm than good.  But it becomes clear in just a few minutes that your presence alone has brought much joy to the dying, that your simple taking of their hand reassures them that are loved and cared for.
In today’s Gospel, the Risen Christ invites the doubting Thomas to place his fingers “in the nail marks” and “in my side” and believe — believe in the love of God to transform us and in the grace to be agents of that love for others.  The “nail marks” of Jesus are all around us in the lives of those walking their own Calvarys.  Jesus calls us to be willing to place ourselves in the pain and struggle of others and bring the joy and peace of Easter into hearts entombed in winter cold and darkness.   

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 ILLUSTRATIONS:  

Andrew Greeley:  

Story:
Once upon a time there was a man who counted carefully all his grudges. He remembered all the cruelties of the school yard, the taunts from his class when he did something well, the feather-brained irresponsibilities  (as he saw them) of the young women he had dated, the dishonesty of his business associates, the insensitivity of his wife, the ingratitude of his children. So many people had done such terrible things to him that he figured that there had to be a conspiracy. Who could have organized such a massive conspiracy?

Only God:
 

For some reason, maybe it was his face, God did not like him. This was unfair, but what could he do. If God had a grudge against him, that was God’s privilege. But then he had the right to hold a grudge against God. So he died lonely and isolated, hated (he thought) by everyone who ought to have loved him. I have a grudge against You, he told God on first meeting. So what, God replied. I don’t have a grudge against you, so forget about it!  

Then God showed him the people at his funeral Mass. All the people who had injured him were sobbing in church. Do you think maybe you missed the point, God asked.

**************
MERCY

Years after the death of President Calvin Coolidge, this story came to light. In the early days of his presidency, Coolidge awoke one morning in his hotel room to find a cat burglar going through his pockets. Coolidge spoke up, asking the burglar not to take his watch chain because it contained an engraved charm he wanted to keep. Coolidge then engaged the thief in quiet conversation and discovered he was a college student who had no money to pay his hotel bill or buy a ticket back to campus. Coolidge counted $32 out of his wallet -- which he had also persuaded the dazed young man to give back! -- declared it to be a loan, and advised the young man to leave the way he had come so as to avoid the Secret Service! (Yes, the loan was paid back.)   

Today in the Word, October 8, 1992.  


A mother once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offense twice and justice demanded death. 

"But I don't ask for justice," the mother explained. "I plead for mercy." 

"But your son does not deserve mercy," Napoleon replied.
"Sir," the woman cried, "it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for."
"Well, then," the emperor said, "I will have mercy." And he spared the woman's son. 

Luis Palau, Experiencing God's Forgiveness, Multnomah Press, 1984.   

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If I were to mention the names of certain disciples to you and ask you to write down the first word that comes into your mind, it is unlikely you would come up with the same words. If I were to mention the name of Judas many of you would write down the word "betray" but not all of you. If I were to mention Simon Peter, some of you would write down the word "faith," but not all of you. If I were to mention the names of James and John, some of you would write down the phrase "Sons of Thunder," but not all of you. But when I mention the word Thomas, there is little question about the word most everyone would write down. It would be the word doubt. Indeed, so closely have we associated Thomas with this word, that we have coined a phrase to describe him: "Doubting Thomas."

You may be interested to know that in the first three gospels we are told absolutely nothing at all about Thomas. It is in John's Gospel that he emerges as a distinct personality, but even then there are only 155 words about him. There is not a lot about this disciple in the Bible but there is more than one description. 

When Jesus turned his face toward Jerusalem the disciples thought that it would be certain death for all of them. Surprisingly, it was Thomas who said: Then let us go so that we may die with him. It was a courageous statement, yet we don't remember him for that. We also fail to point out that in this story of Thomas' doubt we have the one place in the all the Gospels where the Divinity of Christ is bluntly and unequivocally stated. It is interesting, is it not, that the story that gives Thomas his infamous nickname, is the same story that has Thomas making an earth shattering confession of faith? Look at his confession, "My Lord, and my God." Not teacher. Not Lord. Not Messiah. But God! It is the only place where Jesus is called God without qualification of any kind. It is uttered with conviction as if Thomas was simply recognizing a fact, just as 2 + 2 = 4, and the sun is in the sky. You are my Lord and my God! These are certainly not the words of a doubter.

Unfortunately history has remembered him for this scene where the resurrected Christ made an appearance to the disciples in a home in Jerusalem...
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The British writer Arthur C. Clarke proposed three "laws" of prediction that are known as "Clarke's Three Laws." Here they are: 

Law 1) When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.  

Law 2) The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.  

Law 3) Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.    

Taking Clarke even further, some historians of science have argued that the roots of science in the mists of time lie in magic, that science began as magic. According to these scholars the astrologers and magicians parted company: those who sided with the astrologers accepted fate and the destiny of the stars; those who cast lots with the magicians looked for ways to change our future and manipulate the world.   

For people of my generation, we are living in a magic renaissance. Science and technology are awash in magic with things like 3-D printers, which are now printing human organs and 3500 square foot homes in 24 hours. Have you seen how they work? That's magic. Then there are Google glasses and Amazon drones. That's magic.   

But some of the biggest magic around is voice recognition. As a young Samuel was instructed to speak by his mentor Eli, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth." Our technology now is saying to us, "Speak, Lord, for your servant hears and obeys." We "speak," and our toys turn on and do our bidding. Your voice is enough to get the GPS systems in your car to be your digital concierge and report back to you with a voice of our choosing. X-Box One recognizes who is speaking to it and obeys the voice of its "master" instantly. It's all magic. But to our kids, it's not magic, it's normality.     

But Voice Recognition didn't begin as magic, or as science. It began with Jesus....
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 We Know Where We Are Going 

The story is told about Albert Einstein, the brilliant physicist of Princeton University in the early 20th century. Einstein was traveling from Princeton on a train, and when the conductor came down the aisle to punch the passengers' tickets, Einstein couldn't find his. He looked in his vest pocket, he looked in his pants pocket, he looked in his briefcase, but there was no ticket. The conductor was gracious; "Not to worry, Dr. Einstein, I know who you are, we all know who you are, and I'm sure you bought a ticket."  

As the conductor moved down the aisle, he looked back and noticed Einstein on his hands and knees, searching under the seat for his ticket. The conductor returned to Einstein; "Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don't worry. I know who you are. You don't need a ticket, I'm sure you bought one." Einstein arose and said "Young man, I too know who I am; what I don't know is where I am going." 

And that is the good news of Easter; that we know where we are going. We have been told by the Savior that his life and death has promised us life eternal. And Low Sundays don't change that promise. And unemployment doesn't change that promise. Neither does divorce, or bankruptcy, or cancer, or depression, or felony, or failure. Through elation and deflation and every emotion in between, this truth remains; we know whose we are and we know where we are going, because the Son of God has promised. And this, my friends, is faith.  

Steven Molin, Elated....Deflated
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 A New Shalom 

When Jesus appeared to the disciples, his greeting was, "Peace be unto you." The Hebrew word shalom, for "peace," is a most comprehensive word, covering the full realm of relationships in daily life and expressing an ideal state of life. The word suggests the fullness of well-being and harmony untouched by ill fortune. The word as a blessing is a prayer for the best that God can give to enable a person to complete one's life with happiness and a natural death. If the concept of shalom became all too casual and light-hearted with no more significance than a passing greeting, Jesus came to give it new meaning. At Bethlehem God announced that peace would come through the gift of God's unique Son. The mission and ministry of our Lord made it quite clear that Jesus had come to introduce the rule of God and to order peace for the world.  

Harry N. Huxhold, Which Way To Jesus?, CSS Publishing
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Is your preaching EPIC?

GIVING BLOOD by Leonard Sweet - a must-have manual for preachers. Get your copy today!  
http://www.zondervan.com/giving-blood.html

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 The Greatest Scar Story 

I can think of no better modern-day illustration of the sacrifice Jesus made for us than a recent scar story I heard from a tennis friend of mine. As we were waiting for another match to finish, she was relating how badly her knees hurt. This friend is the most fit 30-something-year-old I know. Yet she sat beside me with a brace on each knee. I pointed to the open hole of her knee brace and asked if her scar was from knee surgery. She told me, "No, it's from my son, and I actually have an identical scar on my other knee." 

You see, several years ago she scooped up her toddler son from the swimming pool and began to walk towards a lounge chair. As she stepped onto the tiled patio, her foot slipped on the wet slick surface. She was also seven months pregnant, and it was one of those moments where you feel like you're moving in slow motion but there's nothing you can do to stop the fall. Within a split second, she knew her momentum was toppling her forward, and she could either face-plant and land on top of both her son and her unborn child, or she could fall on her knees.  

Of course, as any loving parent would do, she chose to fall on her knees directly onto the unforgiving concrete. Her knees immediately burst open and blood went everywhere. She ended up needing stitches, which resulted in scars, but her son and unborn child were both unscathed. It is hard for me to tell this story without tearing up, because to me, it serves as a miniscule example of the immense sacrifice and love of Jesus Christ for us. You see, we are the beloved children of God for whom Jesus took the fall. Christ suffered on the cross and endured unimaginable pain for us. His is the greatest scar story ever told.  

Christi O. Brown, Scars of Hope
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 Would You Still Like to be Rescued?

 Several years ago, The Saturday Evening Post ran a cartoon showing a man about to be rescued after he had spent a long time ship-wrecked on a tiny deserted island. The sailor in charge of the rescue team stepped onto the beach and handed the man a stack of newspapers. "Compliments of the Captain," the sailor said. "He would like you to glance at the headlines to see if you'd still like to be rescued!" Sometimes the headlines do scare us. Sometimes we feel that evil is winning. Then Easter comes to remind us that there is no grave deep enough, no seal imposing enough, no stone heavy enough, no evil strong enough to keep Christ in the grave.   

James W. Moore, Some Things Are Too Good Not To Be True, p. 80
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 Honey...It's Me 

Perhaps you've heard the story of the Yugoslavian judge who was electrocuted when he reached up to turn on the light while standing in the bathtub. No, I'm not cruel or weird, let me tell you the rest of the story. This guy's poor wife found his body sprawled on the bathroom floor. He was pronounced dead and was placed in a preparation room under a crypt in the town cemetery for twenty-four hours before burial.  

Well, and this is the part I love, in the middle of the night, the judge came to. The judge looked around at his surroundings and suddenly realized where he was. He got pretty excited and rushed over to alert the guard. But instead of being any help, the guard was terrified and promptly ran off.  

Fortunately, though, the guard returned with a friend, and they released the newly-revived judge. The judge's first thought was to phone his wife and reassure her that he really wasn't dead. Unfortunately, he got no farther than, "Honey... it's me," when his wife screamed and fainted.  

So, he decided that the best course of action was to enlist some friends. He went to the houses of several friends; but because they all had heard the news from his distraught wife, they all doubted that he was really alive. They were all convinced he was a ghost. 

Finally, in a last desperate effort, he contacted a friend in another city who hadn't heard about his death. And that person was able to convince his family and friends that the judge really was alive.  

That story almost sounds like one of the Gospel writers could have written it, doesn't it? It sure sounds like the passage from John this morning.  

Traditional Story. We have not been able to verify the veracity of this story.
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 God's Back 

It was Saturday, the day before Easter, and Joanne Hinch of Woodland Hills, California was sitting at the kitchen table coloring eggs with her three-year-old son Dan and her two-year-old daughter Debbie. She told her kids about the meaning of Easter and taught them the traditional Easter morning greeting and response, "He is risen...He is risen indeed!" The children planned to surprise their Dad, a Presbyterian minister, with that greeting as soon as he awoke the next morning. Easter arrived, little Dan heard his father stirring about in his bedroom, so the boy got up quickly, dashed down the hall and shouted the good news: "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, God's back!"  

David E. Leininger, "Laugh, Thomas, Laugh!"
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 Ants in The Pants of Faith 

Whether your faith is that there is a God or that there is not a God, if you don't have any doubts you are either kidding yourself or asleep. Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving.  

Frederick Buechner
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 End In Certainties

If a man will begin in certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties. 

Francis Bacon, Advancement of Learning (1605)1.v.8. (London: Oxford University Press, 1951), 41.
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 Just Because We Can't See It 

A junior high school teacher was telling her class about evolution and how the way everything in the world was formed proved that God doesn't exist. She said, "Look out the window. You can't see God, can you?" The kids shook their heads. "Look around you in this room. You can't see God, can you?" The kids shook their heads. "Then our logical conclusion is that God doesn't exist, does He?" she asked at last, certain that she had won her audience over. 

But one girl from the back of the classroom said, "Miss Smith, just because we can't see it does not mean it does not exist...
***

Fr. Tony Kadavil

1: Divine Mercy in action: TIME magazine issue in 1984 presented a startling cover. It pictured a prison cell where two men sat on metal folding chairs. The young man wore a black turtleneck sweater, blue jeans and white running shoes. The older man was dressed in a white robe and had a white skullcap on his head. They sat facing one another, up-close and personal. They spoke quietly so as to keep others from hearing the conversation. The young man was Mehmet Ali Agca, the pope’s would-be assassin (he shot and wounded the Pope on May 13, 1981); the other man was Pope St. John Paul II, the intended victim. The Pope held the hand that had held the gun whose bullet tore into the Pope’s body. This was a living icon of mercy. John Paul’s forgiveness was deeply Christian. His deed with Ali Agca spoke a thousand words. He embraced his enemy and pardoned him. At the end of their 20-minute meeting, Ali Agca raised the Pope’s hand to his forehead as a sign of respect. John Paul shook Ali Agca’s hand tenderly. When the Pope left the cell he said, “What we talked about must remain a secret between us. I spoke to him as a brother whom I have pardoned and who has my complete trust.” This is an example of God’s Divine Mercy, the same Divine Mercy whose message St. Faustina witnessed. (http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0308.asp) (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/

2:  Edith Zierer the Jewish holocaust survivor: “The Pope saved me from death:” Edith Zierer, a Holocaust  survivor now living  in Israel, recalls how Karol Wojtyla, who later became Pope John Paul II, carried her to safety after she fled a Nazi concentration camp when she was 13 years old. Polish-born Zierer was 13 when she ran away from the Nazi camp at Czestochowa in Poland after the Soviet army liberated it in January 1945, five months before World War II ended in Europe. She was heading towards her hometown in Poland to find her parents, who, she would later learn, had died in the Holocaust. Exhausted, she reached a train station and sat there for two days without food or water while people ignored her. “Suddenly, there he was,” Zierer said, referring to Wojtyla, the seminarian, in his priestly robe. “He brought me some tea and two pieces of bread with cheese and then carried me to a train carriage. He sat with me and put his cloak on me because it was freezing. We came to Krakow and then I ran away because people started to ask why a priest was walking with a Jewish girl.”  After spending, a few years in orphanages in Poland and France, Zierer emigrated from Europe to British-mandated Palestine, where she later married and bore a son and daughter in what became Israel. She now has five grandchildren. She wrote to Wojtyla after he became Pope in 1979, saying she was the little girl he had saved at the train station in Poland decades ago. After a correspondence ensured, the Pontiff invited her to the Vatican in 1998. She last met him in 2000, when he visited Israel on a millennium pilgrimage and met several survivors at the Vad Vashem Holocaust museum. She said she and the Pope kept up their correspondence, writing mostly during Christmas and before birthdays. “I received a letter from him last year and I knew it was the last,” she said. “He included a picture from his private collection and his handwriting was very shaky. I wrote to thank him for the memory that never left.” Edith Zierer, 84, mourned the death of her former savior, and remembered the warm look in the seminarian Karol Wojtyla’s eyes in the railway station years ago and God’s mercy expressed in his actions. “He was a kindred spirit in the greatest sense — a man who could save a girl in such a state, freezing, starving and full of lice, and carry her to safety,” she told Reuters. “I would not have survived had it not been for him.”
(http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3067156,00.html). Pope John Paul made mercy the core of his priesthood. He saw mercy as a light against darkness. And has the world known darker times than when the Nazis and Communists oppressed millions of people? On April 27, 2014, Divine Mercy Sunday, John Paul II, along with Pope John XXIII, was officially recognized as a Saint. It is no accident that Pope St. John Paul II who was instrumental in spreading the observance of Divine Mercy Sunday was canonized on that Feast. (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/

3: St. Faustina and the Image of Divine MercySt. Faustina of Poland is the well-known apostle of Divine Mercy. On the 30th of April, 2000, at 10:00 AM on the Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday, the Feast requested by Jesus in His communications with St. Faustina), His Holiness Pope St. John Paul II celebrated the Eucharist in Saint Peter’s Square and proceeded to the canonization of Blessed Sister Faustina. [John Paul himself would be canonized on this same Feast Day – April 27 in 2014 – by Pope Francis.] Saint Faustina invites us by the witness of her life to keep our Faith and Hope fixed on God the Father, rich in mercy, Who saved us by the precious Blood of His Son.  During her short life, the Lord Jesus assigned to St. Faustina three basic tasks: 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 in the Church focusing on God’s Mercy. At the canonization of St. Faustina, Pope St. John Paul II said: “The cross, even after the Resurrection of the Son of God, speaks, and never ceases to speak, of God the Father, Who is absolutely faithful to His eternal love for man. … Believing in this love means believing in mercy.”  “The Lord of Divine Mercy,” a drawing of Jesus based on the vision given to St. Faustina, shows Jesus raising his right hand in a gesture of blessing, with  His left hand on his heart from which gush forth two rays, one red and one white. The picture contains the message, “Jesus, I trust in You!” (Jezu ufam Tobie). The rays streaming out have symbolic meaning: red for the Blood of Jesus, which is the life of souls and white for the water of Baptism which justifies souls. The whole image is symbolic of the mercy, forgiveness and love of God. (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/

4. Traffic cop’s mercy:  A priest was forced by a police officer to pull over for speeding.  As the officer was about to write the ticket, the priest said to him, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” The police officer handed the priest the ticket, and said, “Go, and sin no more.”

5. Photographer’s mercy: The story is told of a politician who, after receiving the proofs of a picture, was very angry with the photographer.  He stormed back to the man’s studio and screamed at him: “This picture does not do me justice!” The photographer replied, “Sir, with a face like yours, what you need is mercy, not justice!”

21 Additional anecdotes:

1 Law vs Mercy In Reader’s Digest, Jim Williams of Montana, writes: “I was driving too fast late one night when I saw the flashing lights of a police car in my rearview mirror. As I pulled over and rolled down my window of my station wagon, I tried to dream up an excuse for my haste. But when the patrolman reached the car, he said nothing. Instead, he merely shined his flashlight in my face, then on my seven-month-old in his car seat, then on our three other children, who were asleep, and lastly on the two dogs in the very back of the car. Returning the beam of light to my face, he then uttered the only words of the encounter. “’Son,’ he said, ‘you can’t afford a ticket. Slow down.’” And with that, he returned to his car and drove away.” Sometimes mercy triumphs over law. So it is for sinners who call out to Jesus.”
(Sent by Fr. pgolden@richmondcathedral.org on March 1, 2013).
(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/L/20

2) Baseball player experiences Divine MercyDuring Babe Ruth’s baseball career, he drifted away from his Faith. One night he was very ill in a New York hospital, and a friend suggested he makes his peace with God. As a result, Babe Ruth asked to see a priest. After celebrating the sacrament of Reconciliation, Babe Ruth wrote:
“As I lay in bed that evening, I thought to myself – what a comfortable feeling to be free from fear and worries. I could simply turn them over to God.” Wow! What an expression of Trust in God’s Love and Mercy.(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/L/20

3) “Everybody is somebody” because of Divine Mercy: On 11th April 2009, the woman ruling the British Empire wasn’t Queen Elizabeth. It was a 47-year-old unemployed spinster named Susan Boyle. A lot of you probably know her story. Susan grew up in a small town in Scotland, a devout Catholic, the youngest of nine children. She had learning difficulties when she was a child, and the other children often made fun of her. She lived at home all her life, never married — “never been kissed,” as she puts it – and she spent her time caring for her mother and father and attending Mass every day. She also liked to sing in her church choir. As she grew up, and grew older, she put up with taunts from local school children, who made fun of her eccentric ways and her frizzy hair and frumpy clothes. But Susan’s mother knew that her daughter had something special to give. Susan had a powerful singing voice, and her mother always encouraged her to do something with it. After her mother died, Susan grieved for almost two years, before finally summoning the courage to do what her mother had always wanted her to do. Susan won a slot on a British TV talent show. Last Saturday night, the night before Easter, millions of Britons watched as she shuffled awkwardly onto the stage — this middle-aged out-of-work woman with uncombed hair and an unglamorous face. The audience laughed and some rolled their eyes. But then she opened her mouth to sing. “I Dreamed A Dream,” she sang. Watch her performance: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnn6mShs1P8). And she did it in a voice that was powerful, and clear, and even thrilling. After the first few bars, the audience was on its feet, cheering. It was, literally, the performance of a lifetime. Susan Boyle became an overnight sensation. In just one week, the video of her appearance has been viewed nearly 20 million times around the world on YouTube. She’s appeared on talk shows, been interviewed by papers and magazines. Oprah has invited her on to be a guest. “I did this,“ Susan told a reporter, “for my late mother. I wanted to show her I could do something with my life.” I thought of Susan Boyle on Wednesday, when Archbishop Timothy Dolan climbed the pulpit at St. Patrick’s at his installation Mass and declared in his first homily: “Everybody is somebody.” Susan Boyle certainly proved that. No matter what others may think, the beautiful truth is that everyone carries the spark of the Divine. Every life has meaning and dignity. Everybody is somebody.
(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/L/20

4) Divine mercy experience of Rev. Fr. James Alberione. The founder of the religious congregation to which I belong is Rev. Fr. James Alberione. A holy man with a prophetic vision, he harnessed the pastoral potentiality of the modern means of communication at the service of evangelization. The Holy Father, Pope St.  John Paul II will beatify him today – April 27, 2003 – in Rome. Fr. Alberione founded five religious congregations, four aggregated Institutes, and the Association of Pauline Cooperators, all of which comprise the “Pauline Family”. In 1923, he was struck down with a serious illness that led him into a kind of crisis about the future of the religious family launched just a few years earlier. He needed some kind of assurance in the midst of uncertainties. He looked for confirmation in the most difficult moment of his life. The Divine Master kindheartedly obliged by appearing to him in a dream, assuring him of His Divine assistance and presence. Here is Fr. Alberione’s personal account of that awesome experience. In a particularly difficult moment, reexamining all his ways of doing things to see if there might perhaps be impediments to the action of grace on his part, it seems that the Divine Master may have wanted to reassure the Institute that had only gotten underway a few years before. In a subsequent dream, he had what seemed to him to be a reply. Jesus, the Master, in fact, said to him: “Fear not. I am with you. From here I will enlighten. Have a contrite heart.” The “from here” came forth from the tabernacle; and with power, such as to make one understand that from Him, the Master, must one receive all enlightenment. He spoke of this with his spiritual director, noting in what light the figure of the Master had been enveloped. His reply to me was: “Be at peace; dream or otherwise, what was said is holy; make it a practical program of life and of light for yourself and for all members.” From that point on he became more and more oriented to and received all from the tabernacle.  (Cf. Abundantes Divitiae, n. 151-155).         Indeed, the experience of Blessed James Alberione, a “true missionary of the Church” and a modern apostle for our times, is similar to that of the apostle Thomas, who experienced the compassion of the saving and merciful Lord as predilection.
(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/L/20

5 Iranian mother saves son’s killer from hanging, with a slap of mercy and forgiveness: Tehran: An Iranian mother spared the life of her son’s convicted murderer with an emotional slap in the face as he awaited execution with the noose around his neck, a newspaper reported on Thursday. The dramatic climax followed a rare public campaign to save the life of Balal, who at 19 killed another young man, Abdollah Hosseinzadeh, in a street fight with a knife in 2007. Shargh newspaper said police officers led Balal to a public execution site in the northern city of Nowshahr as a large crowd gathered on Tuesday morning. Samereh Alinejad, mother of the victim, who had lost another son in a motorbike accident four years ago, asked the onlookers whether they knew “how difficult it is to live in an empty house”. Advertisement. Balal, black-hooded and standing on a chair before a makeshift gallows, had the noose around his neck when Ms Alinejad approached. She slapped him in the face and removed the rope from his neck, assisted by her husband, Abdolghani Hosseinzadeh, a former professional footballer. “I am a believer. I had a dream in which my son told me that he was at peace and in a good place … After that, all my relatives, even my mother, put pressure on me to pardon the killer,” Ms Alinejad told Shargh. “The murderer was crying, asking for forgiveness. I slapped him in the face. That slap helped to calm me down. Now that I’ve forgiven him, I feel relieved.” Balal said the “slap was the space between revenge and forgiveness”. “I’ve asked my friends not to carry knives … I wish someone had slapped me in the face when I wanted to carry one,” he said. A high-profile campaign was launched by public figures – including popular football commentator and TV show host Adel Ferdosipour and former international footballer Ali Daei – appealing for the victim’s family to forgive the killer. See the video       commentary below: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=cwh17osBCNI
Read morehttp://www.smh.com.au/world/iranian-mother-saves-sons-killer-from-hanging-with-a-slap-20140418-zqw3f.html#ixzz300Il5O32    (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/L/20 

6) “Well, then, I will have mercy.”  The Emperor Napoleon was moved by a mother’s plea for pardon for her soldier son.  However, the Emperor said that since it was the man’s second major offense, justice demanded death.  “I do not ask for justice,” implored the mother, “I plead for mercy.”  “But,” said the Emperor, “he does not deserve mercy.”  “Sir,” cried the mother, “it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for.”  The compassion and clarity of the mother’s logic prompted Napoleon to respond, “Well, then, I will have mercy.”  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 the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/L/20

7) Divine Mercy and Zacharias Moussaoui. Zacharias Moussaoui was sentenced for a role in the devastating 9/11 tragedy. The Frederick News Post (Apr 14: Good Friday) reported it with the headline: “Suspect wishes pain for victims.” Wow. “‘So you would be happy to see 9/11 again,’ the prosecutor asked. Moussaoui said: ‘Every day until we get you.’ He told jurors that he has ‘no regret, no remorse,’ and was disgusted by the heart-rending testimony of victims and relatives and only wished they have suffered more.” Have you read any more tragic thoughts and wishes? When this Chaplain describes the words and actions as objectively “evil,” he means that, objectively, wanting to murder people, and to plague them with more harm and rub it into their lives is an evil thing. Subjectively, perhaps Zacharias Moussaoui is mentally deranged and not totally culpable for his words and actions. We don’t and can’t know this as a literal matter of fact. The question was raised by both defense and prosecution in his sentencing. Point: Mercy is just for such people – the free offer of God, to even the harshest of offenders, like Zacharias Moussaoui, of forgiveness and reconciliation if he chooses to accept it. We need to pray for Moussaoui that he may ask for and receive God’s pardon and love. This man and his sentiments are just one more reason why Jesus came to Earth-to save souls, even the most overtly plagued ones. (Fr. John J. Lombardi) http://www.emmitsburg.net/grotto/father_jack/2006/mercy_sunday.htm (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/L/20

8) Mayor’s mercy: One night in 1935, Fiorello H. La Guardia, Mayor of New York City, showed up at Night Court in the poorest ward of the city.  He dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench.  One case involved an 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 in jail.” As he spoke, he threw $10 into his hat.  He then fined everyone in the courtroom 50 cents for living in a city “where an old woman had to steal bread so that her grandchildren should not starve.”  The hat was passed around, and the woman left the courtroom with her fine paid and an additional $47.50.
(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/L/20

9) Mary Duray, Connecticut: Mary and her husband suffered the tragic loss of their son, and it was her understanding of Divine Mercy that helped her and her family forgive those that took his life during a robbery. Mary tells us how her attendance at a Mother of Mercy Messengers (MOMM) Divine Mercy Program helped her overcome great obstacles and allowed her to forgive and even to pray for them. Knowing that as long as there is life, there is hope, the family did not seek the death penalty for his murderers. How differently does the person filled with God’s mercy see and react to the world. (http://mercyimages.com/video_MaryDuray.php )
(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/L/20  

10) “What I don’t know is where I am going.” The story is told about Albert Einstein, the brilliant physicist of Princeton University in the early 20th century. Einstein was traveling from Princeton on a train, and when the conductor came down the aisle to punch the passengers’ tickets, Einstein couldn’t find his. He looked in his vest pocket, he looked in his pants pocket, he looked in his briefcase, but there was no ticket. The conductor was gracious; “Not to worry, Dr. Einstein, I know who you are, we all know who you are, and I’m sure you bought a ticket.” As the conductor moved down the aisle, he looked back and noticed Einstein on his hands and knees, searching under the seat for his ticket. The conductor returned to Einstein; “Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry. I know who you are. You don’t need a ticket, I’m sure you bought one.” Einstein arose and said, “Young man, I too know who I am; what I don’t know is where I am going.” And that is the Good News of Easter; that we know where we are going. We have been told by the Savior that his life and death has promised us life eternal. (Steven Molin, Elated….Deflated. Quoted by Fr. Kyala). (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/L/20

11) Ask for MercyIn order to receive mercy we must ask for it and be ready to accept it. If we do not accept it sincerely we will not change our attitude towards our past life. We read in history that in 1829 George Wilson was condemned to death for robbing the mail and killing the policeman who was on the way to arrest him. President Andrew Jackson granted him a pardon but George Wilson refused to accept it. The judge said ‘Pardon is a pardon only when one accepts it. George must die’. Mercy is mercy when we accept it. We read in the life of Voltaire that he wanted to live six weeks to repent for his sins. The doctor told him he would not live six days. He died unrepentant. Having mercy at his door he refused to accept it. (Elias Dias in Divine Stories for Families; quoted by Fr. Botelho).
(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/L/20

12)  The miracle over Hudson River: A banker on a business trip in New York City, Fred Berretta had just checked into his hotel room. He had about 20 minutes downtime before he had to meet his colleagues. For some reason he decided to clean out his briefcase, something he hadn’t done in a long time. As he emptied it out, he came across a booklet he had stuffed into a pocket years ago on praying the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. He recalls having prayed it a few times years ago. Only two weeks prior, Fred had made a New Year’s resolution to try to get into better spiritual shape. Here in this hotel room was an opportunity to fulfill it. So he followed along in the booklet and prayed the chaplet, a prayer our Lord gave to St. Maria Faustina Kowalska in the 1930s, during a series of revelations that has sparked the modern Divine Mercy movement. He would be among the 155 people to board a jet airliner at LaGuardia Airport bound for Charlotte, N.C., his hometown. Ninety seconds after takeoff, the jet would apparently hit a flock of geese, the engines would explode, and the plane would lose power at 3,200 feet. The aircraft would be out of reach from any airfield. It would lose thrust and altitude. Everything would become eerily quiet. Fred would cinch his seatbelt. His left hand would clutch the armrest, his heart would race, his face would be flushed. “Prepare for impact,” the pilot would say over the PA system. As the ground surged into view, Fred would look at his watch. It would be 3:30, the Hour of Great Mercy! “I prayed with every fiber of emotion and sincerity I could muster, ‘God, please be merciful to us,'” Fred would recall two weeks later. You’ve probably heard about the crash landing of Flight 1549 in the Hudson River on Jan. 15, 2009. No one was seriously injured. Then, there were the news images of a US Airways Airbus floating gently down the frigid Hudson, like some sort of breaching, people-friendly, aquatic creature. The passengers stood on its wings, calmly awaiting rescue.
(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/L/20  

13) Seven Secrets of the Eucharist: We might never have learned Fred Berretta’s story if it weren’t for Vinny Flynn. Following the crash, Fred felt compelled to send an email of thanks to Vinny, the former executive editor at the Marian Helpers Center, in Stockbridge, Mass. Fred had never heard of Vinny until about two hours before he boarded Flight 1549. Following morning meetings on Jan. 15, Fred had found himself in the unusual position of having some free time on a business trip. It was noon. He had stepped inside Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He had stayed for the 12 p.m. Mass. Afterwards, he had gone into St. Patrick’s gift shop. A book had caught his eye — Vinny’s Seven Secrets of the Eucharist (Mercy Song, Ignatius Press, 2006) — which, with citations from St. Faustina’s Diary, gives a greater understanding of the mystery of the Eucharist. Fred also purchased a St. Michael’s scapular. In an interview with thedivinemercy.org this week, Fred explained what happened next: “I got into a cab and went to the airport [LaGuardia],” he said. “My flight was delayed about 15 minutes, so I sat there and started reading Vinny’s book. I was really taken by it. I boarded the plane and continued to read. Just as we were rolling out for takeoff, I put the book away and closed my eyes and began to reflect on what I had been reading. “Some of us looked at each other,” he said. “There was nothing to be said. I knew that the only thing I could do was pray.” Which is exactly what Fred did when he suddenly realized it was the Hour of Great Mercy and he would probably be dead in a matter of seconds. He trusted, truly, for the first time. All these fragments of thought seemed to piece themselves into place. The plane was going down, yet everything was making sense. He admits he was in shock. But he also felt at peace, a deep peace. God had allowed him to find the Divine Mercy booklet in his briefcase. God had steered him to Vinny’s book. God did all this, he thought, to prepare him for death. He hunched over in his seat to brace for impact. He prayed for God’s mercy. Then he prayed two Hail Marys and one Our Father. He made it halfway though a prayer to St. Michael, the archangel, when the plane hit the water, came to a stop, and bobbed up and down like a toy in a kiddy pool.
(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/L/20

14) “Sir, that is what I am afraid of.” There is a story about a soldier brought before General Robert E. Lee. Accused of misconduct, the soldier was trembling. The general said to him, “Do not be afraid, son. Here you will receive justice.” The soldier looked at the general and said, “Sir that is what I am afraid of.” Like that soldier, Peter would have reason to tremble. Peter had boasted about his bravery, how he would always stand by Jesus. Yet when Jesus needed him most, he nodded off. Perhaps one could forgive him for falling asleep, but later – when he was wide-awake – he denied Jesus. “I do not know the man.” Some rock! In strict justice, Peter should have been punished – at the very least, removed as head of the Church. In Christ’s passion, however, a deeper justice is at work. That is what we will discover this Divine Mercy Sunday. God’s justice has a name – it is called the Divine Mercy. Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil, the Triduum we have just experienced, are the three great days of grace – of Divine Mercy. Now we need to live out the mercies we have received by passing them on to everyone else.
(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/L/20

15) Macbeth never had peace in his life: One of the famous tragedies of William Shakespeare is Macbeth.  When Macbeth was returning after a victory, he was met by three witches. The first witch greeted him, “Thane of Glamis”.  The second witch greeted him “Thane of Cawdor”, and the third witch greeted him, “King hereafter”. As they disappeared messengers reached with the good news that he was appointed as the Thane of Glamis and Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth went home and shared this strange experience with his wife. She enkindled his hopes, and persuaded him to murder Duncan, the king, who came to his house as his guest. As Macbeth thrust the dagger into the heart of Duncan he heard a voice, “Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep…” (II, 2:35-36). Thereafter Macbeth never had peace in his life. His life became miserable. In his frantic attempt to get peace he committed murder again and again. When Macbeth sinned against the king he lost his peace. Jesus was aware that sins destroy the peace of man. So when he wished them “peace” he also granted them the power to  destroy sin. To destroy a powerful enemy we need a powerful weapon. Jesus put this weapon in the hands of the Church when communicating to his Apostles the power to forgive sins through the sacrament of Reconciliation. Jesus said to the apostles: “Those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven. Those whose sins you retain, they are retained.” (Fr. Bobby Jose).
(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/L/20

16) Uplifting One Another: Have you ever watched geese fly in V-formation? While a thing of beauty to watch, the formation is essential to the geese for survival. If you listen, you can hear the beat of their wings whistling through the air in unison. And that is the secret of their strength: the lead goose cuts a swath through the air resistance, which creates a helping uplift for the birds behind it. In turn their flapping makes it easier for the birds behind them, and so on. Each bird takes its turn at being leader. The tired ones fan out to the edges of the V for a breather, and the rested ones surge towards the point of the V to drive the flock onward. If a goose becomes too exhausted or ill and has to drop out of the flock, it is never abandoned. A stronger member of the flock will follow the failing, weak one to its resting place and wait till the bird is well enough to fly again. Together, cooperating as a flock, geese can fly at 71% longer range, with up to 60% less work. (YouTube: “What geese can teach us about teamwork”; quoted by Fr. Botelho).
(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20  

17) Cure for Sorrow: There is an old Chinese tale about a woman whose only son died. In her grief, she went to the holy man and said, “What prayers, what magical incantations do you have to bring my son back to life?” Instead of sending her away or reasoning with her, he said to her, “Fetch me a mustard seed from a home that has never known sorrow. We will use it to drive the sorrow out of your life.” The woman went off at once in search of that magical mustard seed. She came first to a splendid mansion, knocked at the door, and said, “I am looking for a home that has never known sorrow. Is this such a place? It is very important to me.” They told her, “You’ve certainly come to the wrong place,” and began to describe all the tragic things that recently had befallen them. The woman said to herself, “Who is better able to help these poor, unfortunate people than I, who have had misfortune of my own?” She stayed to comfort them, then went on in search of a home that had never known sorrow. But wherever she turned, in hovels and in other places, she found one tale after another of sadness and misfortune. She became so involved in ministering to other people’s grief that ultimately she forgot about her quest for the magical mustard seed, never realizing that it had, in fact, driven the sorrow out of her life. (Brian Cavanaugh, The Sower’s Seeds; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20  

18) Hope for the Flowers: A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then, it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could. So the man decided to help, he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If God allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. We could never fly! So God, in His mercy, challenges us giving obstacles in life. (Anonymous; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20  

19) “Don’t be crying! It’s OK! He is alive!”  I remember one occasion when I led a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. One of the young men in the group was quite mentally limited, although his grasp of God, of Jesus, and the events of the Gospel was uncanny. We arrived at the tomb of the basilica, and we joined the long line, waiting our turn to enter. One lady came out of the tomb, and was obviously deeply touched by the experience of her visit to such a sacred spot. She sat down outside the entrance, took out a tissue, and began wiping her tears. My friend, who was back in the line, spotted what was happening, and responded instantly. He ran straight up to her, put his hand on her shoulder and said, “Don’t be crying, it’s OK. He’s alive; don’t you know that?” The whole thing was so spontaneous and genuine that the woman stood up, and gave him a warm hug. The simple fact was that he could not understand how anybody could be crying at this tomb, of all the tombs in the world. — Jesus thanked the Father for giving a message that was so simple and straightforward that the intellectual and the worldly-wise would fail to grasp it, and yet it could be fully accepted by someone with the mind of a child. Happy are they who have not seen yet believe. (Jack McArdle in And that’s the Gospel Truth; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20  

20) President’s mercy: Years after the death of President Calvin Coolidge, this story came to light. In the early days of his presidency, Coolidge awoke one morning in his hotel room to find a cat burglar going through his pockets. Coolidge spoke up, asking the burglar not to take his watch chain because it contained an engraved charm he wanted to keep. Coolidge then engaged the thief in quiet conversation and discovered he was a college student who had no money to pay his hotel bill or buy a ticket back to campus. Coolidge counted $32 out of his wallet — which he had also persuaded the dazed young man to give back! — declared it to be a loan, and advised the young man to leave the way he had come so as to avoid the Secret Service! (Yes, the loan was paid back.) [Today in the Word (October 8, 1992); quoted by Fr. Kayala.]
(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/L/20

21) The story of Oshea Israel and Mary Johnson: One of the stories of the “Forgiveness Project” that caught my attention was the story of Oshea Israel and Mary Johnson.  Oshea had shot and killed Mary’s son – a boy Oshea didn’t even know.  There was no way Oshea could pay Mary back for what he had taken from her.  And Mary owed him nothing.  It’s not an easy story.  As Mary said, “I hated everyone for a while.”  But over time Mary came to forgive Oshea.  She visited him in prison.  She helped him when he was released.  In the process they both changed. Mary gave Oshea the one gift he needed to begin his healing: total forgiveness. Mercy doesn’t undercut justice but surprises it!  It is the linchpin that supports forgiveness and compassion. Mercy is the force that reawakens us to new life and instills in us the courage to look to the future with hope. We might think of mercy as the grace for conversion.  (Stories Seldom Heard; quoted by Sr. Patricia). L/19
(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20  

*****
Fr. Jude Botelho

Today’s first reading from the Acts describes the early Christian community and the deep community spirit that flowed from the Easter event. “They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers.’ Because of the presence of the risen Lord in their midst a deep bond was forming among his followers, they drew close to one another, and shared everything in common. The Risen Lord is the basis and the bond of community life.

Community Life
In this book, Small Christian Communities, Jim O’Halloran tells the following story about a young woman from Nairobi called Sylvia. She says:- When I left school I would say that I had the faith. I lived on the outskirts of Nairobi, and every Sunday I traveled by bus to the centre of the city where I attended Mass at the Holy Family Basilica. But the basilica was very big and I knew hardly anyone. I felt alone. Then going home one Sunday and feeling a bit depressed, I said to myself, I don’t have a spiritual friend in the whole world.
However, soon afterwards I came across a small Christian community in my own area and became a member. With that everything changed. In the community I didn’t simply hear about love, as in the basilica, I actually tasted the sweetness of togetherness. And little by little I grew spiritually, made good friends, and was able to take part in work for my neighbourhood. I blossomed as a person. No longer am I that girl who traveled alone into Nairobi, was lost in the big church, and returned home sad.
Flor McCarthy in ‘New Sunday and Holy Day Liturgies’

Today’s gospel tells us of how Jesus appeared to his disciples on that first Easter Sunday saying to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ There were no words of condemnation or reproach because of their cowardice or infidelity. Instead, he reassures them and affirms them. ‘As the Father has sent me, so I send you…receive the Holy Spirit.’ The Spirit of the Risen Lord builds and affirms and empowers the Church and us his followers. But Thomas one of the twelve was missing and when told that Jesus had appeared to the twelve, he not only doubted but put conditions to his belief. ‘Unless I see for myself in his hands the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe!’ Often, our own problems of faith arise because we are not with the community, we stay aloof or withdraw from the Church. The Risen Lord comes to us in and through the community. Most early Christians had not seen the risen Christ. They were in much the same position as we are. So St. John uses the story of Thomas to assure them and us that Jesus indeed is truly risen. Jesus says to them and to us what he said to Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet come to believe.” If we believe in the Risen Lord and let him take over our lives with His spirit, we will see our lives change radically as He did the lives of the first Christians.

Doubting Thomas
Jesus sold St. Thomas, according to the Acts of Thomas, an apocryphal book, as a slave to Gundaphorus, an Indian King. Gundaphorus commanded Thomas to build a palace. Thomas readily agreed and took the money from him. Whenever the king inquired about the palace, Thomas said that it was being built. One day the king became suspicious and asked Thomas to show him the palace. Then Thomas said to the king, “You cannot see it now, but when you depart from this life, then you will be able to see it.” The king was furious and Thomas was in danger of losing his life. Kings in those days were depots. Their words were law. To displease a king was to court death. But Thomas was a man who feared Jesus so much that he never feared the face of any man on this earth, least of all, this king. He boldly faced the king and explained to him about the Christian faith-a faith that imparts eternal life. Eventually, he converted the king to the new religion. St. Thomas sowed the seeds of Christianity in India and later paid with his blood for his faith. St. Thomas’ path to his martyrdom was marked with doubts and deep scepticism. He was a man for whom it was always difficult to believe, but once he believed he went the full length even to the extent of laying down his life. Today, we consider his misery, his doubts and his faith.
John Rose in ‘John’s Sunday Homilies’

Living the Word
Thomas was not the unbelieving one really. It was not that he did not want to believe in the Lord’s Resurrection but that he foresaw the consequences. While Peter and the others were overjoyed at the Master’s return, Thomas realised that if he were really risen, the consequences were enormous and he was not ready for them. The Resurrection would mean that Jesus was who he claimed to be, the Son of God and not just a prophet. Thomas was holding tough. There was no room for pussy-footing now. Either Jesus was God or he was not. There could be no in-between. Thomas wanted to be sure that Jesus was truly risen. He got what he wanted then; he gave himself totally to the Lord. His decision for Jesus determined the course of the rest of his Life. - Something similar happens in our lives. It may be less dramatic and happen gradually over years but the decision is the same. By default, or by decision, each person chooses to believe that Jesus is God, or that he is not, and lives accordingly. To be able to take the faith option is a gift from God. It is a gift to be protected, nurtured and shared. It is to be fully lived or it dies. Middle-of-the-road people are carried by the crowd whichever way it happens to be going and faith is too personal to thrive in that atmosphere. Daily prayer and service nourish this faith and the Sunday Eucharist celebrates the belief that Jesus is the risen
Lord. Tom Clancy

The Stranger Without the Scars
There was once an event in the life of Pastor Bernard Rom, who shepherded a church in Madison, Wisconsin, for over 30 years. One Sunday, after the church services, a stranger with a beard appeared before Pastor Rom and said, “Hello, I’m Jesus.” The pastor, though surprised at the behaviour of the stranger, just took the man’s hands in his and turned it over, looking for any scare. Then he asserted, “No, you are not.”-Do not believe imitators and opportunists, but look to the nail-pierced hand of the Lord Jesus.
Daniel Sundarajaj in ‘Manna for the Soul’

Not Seeing Yet Believing
In Robert Browning’s poem A Death in the Desert the last of the apostles, John, is dying. He looks over his life and wonders what will happen after the death of the last person to know Jesus personally. What will happen when There is left on earth, No one alive who knew (consider this!), Saw with his eyes and handled with his hands, That which was from the first, the Word of Life, How will it be when none more saith “I saw”? -How can the Church speak about Jesus in a compelling way when no one can see him? This is precisely the problem that the evangelist John faces in today’s Gospel. The apostle Thomas is absent when Jesus appears to the others, and he cannot believe that Jesus is risen because he cannot see him. This is a story for everyone who was not present with the disciples on Easter evening – and that obviously includes ourselves. Today’s Gospel builds a bridge between those who saw Jesus and those who do not: “Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.” That is a blessing directed at us: we who believe in Jesus without seeing him.
Denis McBride in ‘Seasons of the Word’

Grave of the Unknown Warrior
One of London’s oldest and most historic buildings is the Westminster Abbey. Britain’s most famous figures including the royalties and nobles are buried beneath its walkways. The details of each individual are given on the tombstone.
But the most regarded of all the graves is the Grave of the Unknown Warrior. This grave is at the entrance of the Abbey and is the first one to be noticed by anyone. This tomb is given the highest honour. Any visitor to this building, as he goes around actually walks over the stones. But no one is allowed to walk over the tomb of the Unknown Warrior. Most of the important dignitaries who visit London lay a wreath on this tomb. This tomb is considered as a symbol of all men from all nations who died in all wars. The name of the warrior is not known. At the end of the First World War, five unrecognizable bodies from the armed forces of Britain were brought home from Europe. One of these five bodies was picked out by a blind man, King George V ordered the body to be buried with full military honours. This grave is commemoration of “the many multitudes who… gave the most that man can give, life itself. “The grave stone lies over the remains of the unknown soldiers, and it is closed, though highly regarded. All these graves will continue to remain closed. -But there is one grave in the world which is open – the tomb of Jesus Christ, the one who was rejected by men and was put in a borrowed grave. He rose victoriously on the third day. He gave His life that everyone accepting Him may live for ever. “The grave of victory.”
Daniel Sundararaj in ‘Manna for the Soul’

May we not demand signs but believe that Jesus is alive!