I Am Blessed!
April 11, 2021 (readings)
- Sunday of Divine Mercy
- Maribeth Harper
On the evening of that 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 it into 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.
Opening Prayer: Lord, thank you for Sister Faustina, your messenger of Divine Mercy. May I be enriched by your word as I reflect in this Easter season on your Resurrection.
Gift-Bearing: The resurrected Jesus greeted his disciples, who were hiding away for fear of the Jews, with a manifold array of spiritual gifts. First, he imparted his peace—twice. The peace of God surpasses all human understanding (Philippians 4:7), and how relieved and joyful they must have felt as recipients of this heavenly peace in the midst of their fear. Next, Jesus commissioned them: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” They were to become his emissaries and would be given all the grace they would need for their mission’s completion. Finally, he gave them the power to forgive sin. This extraordinary power is reserved for Christ’s priests. “The apostles and their successors carry out this “ministry of reconciliation,” not only by announcing to men God's forgiveness merited for us by Christ, and calling them to conversion and faith; but also by communicating to them the forgiveness of sins in baptism, and reconciling them with God and with the Church through the power of the keys, received from Christ” (CCC 981). What an illustration of Our Lord’s superabundant grace! May each of us recognize his visitations and gifts in our life!
Thomas versus Faustina: St. Thomas’s reputation often suffers when this Scripture is read because he doubted that Jesus would rise from the dead, despite Jesus predicting at least three times that it would happen. How could he have doubted, having ministered alongside Jesus so intimately as one of the Twelve? In truth, all great saints–all of us humans–have our doubts from time to time. Sister Faustina, who revealed Christ’s Divine Mercy to the world, doubted. “Although the temptations are strong, a whole wave of doubts beat against my soul, and discouragement stands by, ready to enter into the act,” she wrote. But like Thomas, who exclaimed, “My Lord and my God,” when he encountered Christ, Sister Faustina said of her doubt, “I see how many actual graces God grants me; these support me ceaselessly. I am very weak, and I attribute everything solely to the grace of God” (Diary 1086). Faith in Jesus is the remedy for all doubt.
Blessed Are We: As contemporary followers of Jesus, we can draw great consolation from the knowledge evidenced here, that Christ has had us in mind from the beginning. “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” That’s all of us! Not only did he acknowledge us here, but he blessed us. When we doubt or struggle because we “have not seen” we can claim this blessing, straight from the mouth of Our Lord.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, thank you for the gifts you have given me, especially the spiritual ones. I know that you see me, know my heart’s desires, and bless me in ways that are best for my personal thriving. You are pure love.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will praise and thank you for at least three concrete gifts you have given me.
For Further Reflection: Listen to “I Am Blessed” by Rachael Lampa
© 2019-Present. EPRIEST, Inc. All rights reserved.