THE DOUBTING THOMAS, COMMUNITY LIFE AND THE DIVINE MERCY
📖Acts 5:12-16; Psalm 118:2-4, 22-24, 25-27a (R.v.1); Rev 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19; John 20:19-31
🎤THE DOUBTING THOMAS, COMMUNITY LIFE AND THE DIVINE MERCY
In the past two liturgical years – A & B – the liturgy of this very day, that is Second Sunday (Divine Mercy Sunday),L brought to our view the roles of faith and love in the life of every Christian. This year, while those roles are still kept in view, the centrality and primacy of the Word of God in Christian life are emphasized. This emphasis is made basically in the First and the Second Readings.
In the Second Reading, St. John saw a vision of the Son of the Man in the middle of seven golden lampstands. Remember that the letter was written to the seven Churches, what we may understand as the universal Church. To us therefore, we are invited to reflect on the position of Jesus, the Word of God in our lives. Is he a part-time figure or something that happened in the past?
In the First Reading, he was an essential part of the lives of the early Christians, hence the community lived a common life that helped them to grow in love and, by extension, faith and service to one another. They lived with one heart and one mind (Acts 4:32), and, sharing what they had in common, none of them lacked anything (Acts 4:34-35). Remember that Jesus had said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). That becomes a force that attracted a greater number into the fold (cf. Acts 5:14-16).
Christianity is a vocation of love. We become Christians, children of God, by believing in the name of Jesus (cf. John 1:12), not only by believing, but also by keeping his commandments (cf. 1 John 5:1). The greatest commandment, as Jesus did inform us, is love (cf. Matt 22:36-40). How do we keep these commandments if we do not pay attention to the Word of God? This is what we share when we gather as a community to celebrate the Holy Eucharist.
At a time, Thomas left the community of believers after the death of Jesus. Indeed many of the disciples left but Jesus never left them. Remember the encounter he had with those ones on their way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) and now the different appearances to the disciples. Thomas was not able to have the experience of this appearance because he was not in the community. But for this second time, he was part of them and so shared in the experience. However, he needed more than the experience; he needed to touch Jesus.
Remember the previous instances where people touched Jesus and got their healing or were saved (cf. Mark 5:27-29, 41-42). So, Thomas needed to touch of Jesus in order to be healed of his faithlessness and annihilation after lapsing in faith and separating himself from the community.
Note that it was not Thomas that invited Jesus to come again neither did he request Jesus to allow him put his hands in his wounds. Jesus knew his need of that healing and reached out to give it to him. That is what we call Divine Mercy. Divine Mercy is the celebration of the merciful love of God and the desire to let that love and mercy flow through one’s heart towards those in need of it. It is an unmerited love. St. Paul noted that God showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8). A perfect celebration of this love therefore should be in the transmission of that same love to others, especially those who do not merit it.
We need to celebrate God’s love and mercy daily in its fullness. We cannot have a fulfilled celebration if we don’t learn how to extend the love to others. St John Paul II gave us an example of this transmission of that great love of Christ. In 1983, he went to the cell of Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who tried to assassinate him in 1981, and forgave him.
Is there anyone who wronged you that you are yet to forgive? You can begin the celebration of this Mercy of God from there. Forgive him/her and you would be building a strong community of faith and love for Christ.
May the Divine continue to envelope you in all your undertakings. Amen
Happy Divine Mercy Sunday and have a merciful day. Peace be with you.