Homily for the second Sunday of Easter - Year A - Jn. 20:19-31
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
" On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, «Peace be with you.» When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, «Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.» And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, «Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.»
" Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, «We have seen the Lord.» But he said to them, «Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.» Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, «Peace be with you.» Then he said to Thomas, «Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.» Thomas answered him, «My Lord and my God!» Jesus said to him, «Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.»
" Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name. "
This second Sunday of Easter is the Sunday consecrated by Pope John Paul II to Divine Mercy. Eight days after his resurrection, Jesus appears among his disciples in order to show himself to one of them in particular: Thomas. For, on the night of Easter, when Christ appeared for the first time at the Cenacle to his Apostles, Saint Thomas was not present, for a reason we do not know... Or rather, yes, we do know: Thomas' absence was providential! For if he were not absent, would we have been granted today's magnificent scene?
Mercy! Mercy! Already, on the night of Easter, Jesus has spoken of mercy to his disciples: he gives them the power to forgive sins... Is this not a word of mercy? God has mercy on whoever confesses his sins, with contrition, and with a firm intention of never committing them again... We too are invited to have mercy on others. Are there not many offenses for which we must forgive our brother or sister in Jesus Christ? Must we not have mercy on all men, no matter who they are?
When Jesus appears, it is already a sign of mercy. The mere fact of appearing and making himself visible is, for those present, a proof of love, a testimony of the paternal solicitude of Jesus the Son of God. For Jesus watches over each one of us with a fatherly condescension. Did he not say to his disciples, just before his death: "Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me" (Jn. 14:11)? But the kindness of the Father manifests itself the most in Jesus when the Risen One shows his wounds, notably the one on his side, the one that goes ll the way to his Sacred Heart. Each ound that the risen Jesus preserved as a testimony to his Passion is a nique means through which the Father sees us, mysteriously, watching over s with a limitless Love!
This is what Saint Thomas had to experience that night, along with othe similar things which were personal. For we do not have to know all the graces that God offers to such and such a person: that concerns only God and the person to whom God addresses himself... But when Saint Thomas placed his finger in the wound of the Savior, did he not experience a tangible proof of the Love of God and of his infinite Mercy? How would he have confessed the divinity of Jesus with such faith and such love without having been powerfully touched by the Love of God in person? When man touches God, through faith, God touches man through his infinite merciful Love!
"Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believ that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name." Merciful Jesus desires but one thing: that all those for whom he died on the Cross of Calvary receive from him eternal Life, for both their body and their soul. The risen Jesus desires but one thing: that everyone live through Him, with Him, and in Him, for the Glory of the Father! May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary grant us such a grace!