April 19, 2009
Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday
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 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!" 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.
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe in your love for me and your grace, and this is why I come before you now. I know that through this meditation I can experience your love and be filled with your grace, so that I might fulfill my role in your plan of salvation. You know that I am weak and am sometimes tempted to lose heart. But I know I can count on your generous graces to bolster my courage and love. For my part, I will strive to spend this time with you well.
Petition: Jesus Christ, let me know your heart.
1. His Heart
In this passage, Christ puts himself within touching distance of Thomas’ finger and hand. He invites this apostle, struggling with doubt, to reach into his side and come into contact with that Sacred Heart, full to the brim with mercy. Not only could there no longer be any doubt about the Savior’s resurrected body, there also could no longer be any doubt about his mercy which he promised in forgiving sins. With Thomas, then, let us come within touching distance of this heart of Christ and peer through his open side to see the heart that so loves all souls.
2. My Heart
Not only do we want to touch Christ’s heart, we also want to invite the Lord to touch our hearts. Just like the lepers who presented their disfigured flesh for Christ to touch and cure, so we present our disfigured souls asking him to touch and to cure. Saint Faustina Kowalska, an apostle of the Divine Mercy, would say that all that is necessary is for us to leave the door of our heart ajar and God will do the rest. Let us present to his “sacred finger” what in us needs to be touched by his grace, especially through the sacrament of reconciliation.
3. All Hearts
In Christ, the greatest thirsting love is too often met by the most outrageous ingratitude and affront on the part of souls. The Sacred Heart made mention of this in the pangs of his heart voiced to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. He explained to her that his sharpest pain was due to people’s ingratitude. Let us endeavor to bring his thirsting heart into contact with souls, though our prayers, sacrifices and apostolic efforts.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for the example of love and mercy you give us through your appearance to the disciples and your kindness to St. Thomas. May my heart always be full of gratitude and remain close to your loving, merciful touch.
Resolution: I will pray that someone I know may experience God’s mercy in the sacrament of confession. If possible, I will help someone directly to make this happen.
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