GOSPEL REFLECTION: 2nd SUNDAY OF EASTER
DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
GOSPEL: JOHN 20:19-31
On the evening of the first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put on my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
The Gospel of the Lord./ Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Today we celebrate Second Sunday of Easter. On the Second Sunday of Easter, we continue our reflection on the risen Christ. But this is also a day, in particular, that we are being invited to reflect on the immensity of God’s mercy and love as we also celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. When we say Divine Mercy, we mean to say it’s God’s infinite mercy. His mercy, love, and forgiveness are greater than sin, suffering, and death. It means our salvation and life eternal. And it means Christ’s victory as well as our own. This Sunday’s Gospel text helps us to understand the reality in the mystery of this Divine Mercy. It is clearly stated in today’s Gospel message. Divine forgiveness, peace, mercy, and love are the keywords underlying the message of John.
The Gospel relates to us that our Lord Jesus appears before the apostles. Very noticeable in this particular text is the image of Jesus who is so quick to assure his disciples of his peace and forgiveness. I could only imagine how those disciples must have felt at that time. They confined themselves in a room out of fear, desperation, and shame. One of them, Judas betrayed our Lord for thirty pieces of silver and it is easy to condemn him for his action but on that most trying moments in the life of our Lord, the rest of the apostles did not do too well either. They abandoned our Lord Jesus in times when he needed them most. We could even recall how Peter professed that he would lay down his life for Jesus. But Jesus knew that he would even deny him three times when he was put to the test. It was only John the beloved who was seen all the way to Calvary. And so the disciples knew that they were no better than Judas who betrayed our Lord.
Against this background of doubts and lacking faith, later on, the disciples manifested deep expression of faith. They became courageous and bold. They continued the mission of Christ of spreading the Good News of God’s Kingdom. Eventually, except for John they suffered the same fate as their Master. And so on this encounter of the risen Christ, Jesus manifested that he perfectly understood how his disciples must have felt at that time. He knew the guilt and the shame the disciples were keeping in their hearts. It was in this situation that our Lord Jesus assured them of the gift of Peace. Several times the word “Peace” was mentioned in the Gospel. The nature of “Shalom” or “Peace” of Christ in its purest sense means joy, the tranquility of the soul and in its more profound sense, it means healing and reconciliation. Just like what St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Colossians (1:20-22)
“20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,”
Jesus himself is the source and author of Peace. “Peace I give to you, not as the world gives; do I give to you.” The Peace of Christ means more than offering reconciliation, it is salvific, it gives life and it brings us back our dignity as Children of God.
As we continue to reflect on the Risen Christ and the Divine Mercy, we are being invited to always desire and ask for God’s mercy, forgiveness, and love. Divine Mercy Sunday also invites us to put our complete trust in Jesus and to imitate his mercy in our lives.
Luke 6:36 “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
“Jesus, I trust in you!”