I hope you all had a wonderful Easter celebration. However, we are not done celebrating yet. We took 40 days of Lent to prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with hearts and minds renewed. Now we take fifty days, now through Pentecost, to rejoice in the presence of the Lord in our midst. Previously, we called the Second Sunday of Easter, Low Sunday. This was because after the music, prayers, decorations, and gatherings, getting back to normal was kind of a letdown. Pope John Paul II made this Sunday Divine Mercy Sunday. It is the eighth day, or octave of Easter, that is from Good Friday until today. We pray at the beginning of Mass, Lord, have Mercy, seeking forgiveness for our sins. God’s mercy is stronger than any fault, any wrong, any sin we may have committed. The mercy of God seeks to reconcile us with the Lord and one another. While we had been planning a special celebration of the Divine Mercy Sunday, a first here at St. James, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided to wait until next year, after some formation about the feast to inaugurate this event.
Today’s Gospel features the story of doubting Thomas, the apostle who refused to believe in the risen Christ until he saw him with his own eyes. But let us not overlook Jesus giving the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, telling them, “whose sins you forgive are forgiven them.” May we be a forgiving people, calling upon the Holy Spirit, whom we received in baptism and confirmation, to extend that divine mercy to all in need of forgiveness.
We bestow mercy on someone when they have done something wrong, choosing to refrain from punishing them even when they deserve some penalty. It is when we feel that we are beyond mercy that we stand most in need of God’s mercy. It is when we have been wronged by someone who feels that they are beyond mercy that we are called to imitate our Lord in offering mercy. Not because he or she deserves it, but because without mercy we are all lost. Let us, in the spirit of Easter, rejoice that we are always able to receive that tender mercy.
Love, Peace, Joy,