The Apostle Thomas in today’s gospel, like many of us, is a bottom-line realist: “Unless I see the wounds, I will not believe.” So, how dramatic it must have been for Jesus suddenly to appear in the locked room, and invite Thomas to touch his wounded hands and side. Jesus challenges him directly: “Do not doubt but believe.”
If I took a survey, I wonder how many of us would be willing to admit that we have doubts about God, Jesus, and our faith. Belief in God IS difficult, once we have suffered in life. After we have lived through deception, violence, war, deaths—isn’t our experience of God’s presence more often an experience of God’s absence? Certainly all of the great saints have said this was true for them.
Jesus’ first words are usually “Peace be with you!” because he totally understands our fears and doubts. Jesus doesn’t want fear and doubts about the future to destroy our belief in life itself. This seems to be happening, for example, in the case of abortion. It is often easier to think of ending a life for which we cannot see a future. But God has an eternal vision for each beloved life, which we cannot see. Remember the old saying, “Seeing is believing?” Not true for Jesus. He says, “Believing is seeing.”
Our faith shouts to the world that, thank God, there is a sacred beginning, a blessed middle, and a joyful end to every life! We should not let our doubts drag us into the mud of inaction. Through loving ourselves and one another, even in our doubts, we will move even deeper into relationship and unity with God. I’d call that an excellent prospect for our future, wouldn’t you?
“His love endures forever” (Ps. 117/118:2). Truly, God’s mercy is forever; it never ends, it never runs out, it never gives up when faced with closed doors, and it never tires. In this ‘forever’ we find strength in moments of trial and weakness because we are sure that God does not abandon us. He remains with us forever. Let us give thanks for so great a love, which we find impossible to grasp; it is immense! Let us pray for the grace to never grow tired of drawing from the well of the Father’s mercy and bringing it to the world. Let us ask that we too be merciful, to spread the power of the Gospel everywhere, and to write those pages of the gospel which John the Apostle did not write” (Pope Francis, April 3, 2016).
As we conclude the Octave of Easter today and continue to celebrate Easter, may the love and mercy of the risen Lord bless you on this Divine Mercy Sunday and always! Pray constantly: Jesus I Trust in You!
Joyfully in the Lord,
Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish