Divine Mercy Sunday: Jonn 20:19-31
Thomas makes a grand statement of principle and intent but, faced with Jesus, seems not to need to follow through. “Church” for many people is a place of resolution and commitment; I pray that church begins for me in my humble meeting with Jesus who approaches me to wish me peace, not seeking brave statements.
‘Jesus breathed on them’. Ask him to breathe on me. What might that mean for me? Can I pray with my doubt? Can I talk with Jesus about the struggles I have in believing? Do I have any sense of ‘being sent’? Good news is for sharing and passing on. Can I say that believing in his name has brought life to me?
The Risen Jesus meets his closest friends for the first time after they had all abandoned him in His hour of need. It must have been a moment they were all dreading. Yet his first words, twice over, were, ‘Peace be with you’. No rebuke, no reproach, just ‘Peace!’ And then he showed them his wounds, the unmistakable signs.
‘As the Father sent me, I also send you’. While they were feeling they had failed abysmally as his disciples, He entrusted them with the same mission he had received from the Father: now they knew it was not they who had chosen Him, but He had chosen them. Their mission, a mission of bringing forgiveness of sins, was to be carried out by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thomas is an ordinary person, knotted up in his own fears and doubts. Perhaps we all carry something of his DNA? Here we are shown the transforming impact which his personal encounter with Jesus has on him. Pope Francis says: ‘I invite all Christians to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them. I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.’
‘These are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name’. Thomas places his hands in the wounds of Jesus, and the experience draws from him the first, ringing affirmation of Christ’s divinity: “My Lord and my God!” Fully human, and fully divine. Eternally human, eternally divine. His human nature is glorified, just as His divinity is humanized. Our human nature will be forever in Him; His divinity dwells within us, and will remain with us even to the consummation of the world.