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Reflection: Divine Mercy , 'Doubting' Thomas and Disbelief

I suggest that Thomas the doubter became the Thomas the model believer, an example for each one of us.

On every Feast of Divine Mercy let us echo the words of Thomas "My Lord and My God" and through the intercession of Saint Faustina, let us ask the Lord of Mercy for the grace to become true messengers of Mercy in our own age.

On every Feast of Divine Mercy let us echo the words of Thomas "My Lord and My God" and through the intercession of Saint Faustina, let us ask the Lord of Mercy for the grace to become true messengers of Mercy in our own age.


CHESAPEAKE (Catholic Online) - The Second Sunday of Easter is "Divine Mercy Sunday". Our Gospel (John 20: 19-31) recounted one of the Post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus Christ to his disciples, where Jesus appears to his disciples, coming through locked doors and says "Peace be with you" breathing upon them the Holy Spirit and communicating His authority to forgive sins.

However, Thomas was not present. The Beloved disciple John records this exchange between the Risen Lord and Thomas which follows: "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 nailmarks 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 it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe." Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!"

This encounter led to Thomas being called "Doubting Thomas". Yet the tradition tells us that so called "doubting Thomas" died a martyr for his faith. He also became a messenger of Mercy to India, a missionary who shed his own blood for the Master whom he encountered on that day. His insistence on touching the wounds presented the Disciple John another opportunity to explain for all of us the implications of the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Thomas´s response in his encounter with the Risen Lord, "My Lord and My God" reveals the heart of prayer as a call to adoration and communion with God. It has become the exclamation for millions, myself included, when faced with the Mystery of Mysteries, the Holy Eucharist at the elevation during Mass. I suggest that Thomas was not a doubter, rather he was a believer. And he is a model for all of us at every Eucharist which is the Feast of Mercy. Pope St Gregory the Great who occupied the Chair of Peter between 590 and 604 preached a marvelous homily on this encounter between Thomas and the Risen Lord. In it he asked:

"What conclusion, dear brethren, do you come to? Surely it was not by chance that this chosen disciple, was missing in the first place? Or that on his return he heard, that hearing he doubted, that doubting he touched, and that touching he believed? It was by divine dispensation and not by chance that things so fell out. God´s Mercy worked wonderfully, for when that doubting disciple touched his Master´s wounded flesh he cured the wound of our disbeliefÖ So this doubting disciple, who actually touched, became a witness to the reality of the resurrection"

We are invited to become living witnesses in our own day to the reality of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thomas touched the wounded side of beloved Savior to heal the wounds of our own disbelief. This past Sunday we joined with our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI and Catholics throughout the whole world in celebrating the Feast of Divine Mercy. To Saint Faustina Our Lord said: "I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of my tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of my mercy".

We were invited to approach the throne of Mercy and cry out with St. Thomas: "My Lord and My God" (Jn 20:28). Those who do so are forever changed. Peter became a messenger of mercy through his encounter with the Risen Lord. He was so filled with the Spirit of the Risen Lord that the Lord could continue His redemptive mission through him, accomplishing miraculous deeds. In the Acts of the Apostles we read that even the shadow of Peter would effect merciful healing.

The beloved Disciple John was imprisoned on the Island of Patmos. There he received a merciful vision from the Risen Lord which became the Book of Revelation. He heard these words: "Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the netherworld."

And then there was Thomas. Jesus turned Thomas´s doubt into an event of Mercy for generations to come. Out of the repentance born from seeing Mercy Incarnate, touching the wounds of His Divine love, came those wonderful words that have formed the most profound of personal prayers for millennia. "My Lord and My God" Pope St Gregory was right, "Thomas´ doubt healed the wounds of all of our doubts". At the Liturgy of Canonization for Sister Mary Faustina Kowalski, Sunday, April 30, 2000, the late Servant of God John Paul II proclaimed: "Before speaking these words, Jesus shows his hands and his side. He points, that is, to the wounds of the Passion, especially the wound in his heart, the source from which flows the great wave of mercy poured out on humanity. From that heart Sr Faustina Kowalska, the blessed whom from now on we will call a saint, will see two rays of light shining from that heart and illuminating the world: "The two rays", Jesus himself explained to her one day, "represent blood and water" Divine Mercy reaches human beings through the heart of Christ crucified and Risen.

"My daughter, say that I am love and mercy personified", Jesus asked of Sr Faustina. Christ pours out this mercy on humanity though the sending of the Spirit who, in the Trinity, is the Person-Love. And is not mercy love's "second name" understood in its deepest and most tender aspect, in its ability to take upon itself the burden of any need and, especially, in its immense capacity for forgiveness? Jesus told St. Faustina: "Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy"

St. Faustina Kowalska wrote in her Diary, "I feel tremendous pain when I see the sufferings of my neighbors. All my neighbors' sufferings reverberate in my own heart; I carry their anguish in my heart in such a way that it even physically destroys me. I would like all their sorrows to fall upon me, in order to relieve my neighbor." At every Eucharist let us echo the words of Thomas, "My Lord and My God". Let ask the Lord of Mercy for the grace to become true messengers of Mercy to this age so desperately in need of it.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.

Keywords:



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1 - 6 of 6 Comments

  1. rico gamogamo
    3 years ago

    thank you and God bless...i look forward reading reflections like this to enhance my Catholic belief.

  2. Ronan Reilly
    5 years ago

    Here is the link to the video of the 2009 Divine Mercy pilgrimage:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAVCv14XpEc

    God bless and happy easter.
    In Christ,
    Ronan.

  3. Richard T. Sansone
    5 years ago

    We all sometime fail to see the beauty of the Cruxifiction of Christ, he did see the glory and had faith to believe Jesus was God in person before his eyes
    may we have the same faith,praise
    and thank Him for giving Himself in love.

  4. Patty J Sova
    5 years ago

    I am deeply moved in my heart, soul, body, and mind of this scripture recalling "doubting" Thomas and my sister advised me of this site and it was exactly what I needed to read today. I thank the Lord for her daily!

  5. Andy Holland
    5 years ago

    "I suggest that Thomas was not a doubter, rather he was a believer."

    Coming from the Eastern tradition that is how St. Thomas is venerated, showing him probing deeply into the wounds of Christ. This is old school Church Incarnational theology at its best - the Incarnation is very real and should be probed deeply! Its not coincidence!

    Consider that Jesus healed using touch therapy on the Sabbath when the Divine Nature was asleep. What a wonderful gift to our Medical community. Mark Chapter 8 for example, where the man who was blind could see and experienced textbook visual agnosia.

    Or Jesus calming the winds and the waves (its called the FPU paradox in physics and is technically possible for a man - if he is the eternal Word (pattern) of God).

    Or consider that the temple was decorated in its heart with Pomegranates and Grapes, sources of Revestrol....

    Science needs religion, religion is the science of sciences, and probing deeply in many aspects of the Gospel brings great blessings if we only allow ourselves to probe deeply, believe and proclaim, "my Lord and my God" - or like St. Francis, "my God and my all..."

  6. Paul Sutton
    5 years ago

    St. Thomas`s words provide proof of Our Lord`s resurrection for generations to come.
    The inaugural Divine Mercy Pilgrimage in Australia (to become an annual event)- from Wagga Wagga in NSW to the Divine Mercy Shrine at Marian Hills (Tarcutta)took place this Easter.
    About 60 pilgrims walked the 100k or so praying & singing the rosary,litanies etc.The Chaplet was recited each afternoon at 3:00 Holy Mass was celebrated each day & an all night vigil took place before Our Lord on Sat. night till Sunday morning.
    The Pilgrimage concluded with Holy Mass being offered (both the Ordinary Rite & the Extraordinary Rite) on Divine Mercy Sunday.
    From Our Lady`s Land of the Southern Cross.

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