April 16, 2023: Second Sunday of Easter (Sunday of Divine Mercy)
Gospel: John 20:19-31
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.
“Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” This statement of Jesus to Thomas is called “the ninth Beatitude” by some spiritual writers. It’s a consoling thought for all of us present-day Christians who read it, for it applies to us as well. Jesus’ prior question to Thomas could also form a statement of blessing: “Blessed are those who have come to believe.” For Thomas and for us, there is often not immediate belief but a gradual understanding, a step-by-step movement before we can believe that it is Jesus acting in our lives in however our daily reality presents itself.
Reflect on some times in your life when you have “come to believe.” What feelings do your memories evoke? End your quiet time thanking God for the gift of faith and for those times when it has sustained you.