Divine Mercy and Faith
Much in the spirit of the angel at the tomb, who responded to the woman who asked, “Where have they taken my Lord?” with another question, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” Jesus says to the doubting apostle, Thomas, in today’s gospel passage, “Be Not Unbelieving, But Believe.”
Just so, this is Jesus’ exhortation to all of us on this Second Sunday after Easter—Divine Mercy Sunday. Jesus, as he dispelled Thomas’ doubts, was loving him and bestowing upon him divine mercy and grace. By our faith, we stand to be the recipients of the same divine mercy and faith. And it matters greatly!
Think for a moment about all those right now whose loved ones have simply vanished, or of those whose loved ones remain imprisoned here or abroad. Think of Christians and Muslims who, even as we enjoy celebrating this Easter Season together, are being held against their will or are being sought out to be eradicated by ISIS. What role does “believing, rather than not believing” play in their real lives? For the believer, no life is ever truly lost. Yes, human sorrow and suffering has its day, but for the person of faith, Divine Mercy wins out with the promise of eternal life.
Our daily lives may not be encountering the dramatic challenge to faith that is demanded of those with missing loved ones, but when we meet daily life with such believing in Jesus’ promises made true, we will be better equipped by God’s grace to handle the greater challenges in life as they may come along. Then again, we must also be ready to be the Lord’s own instruments of God’s Divine Mercy, when the Lord calls upon us to be his kindness and love to others. A child whose parent is missing, or who has vanished will benefit better from one who believes, rather than one possessed in doubt. Right?
As Christians, we are called “to approach the throne of grace with confidence,” where we will encounter God’s Divine Mercy in Jesus.” And, as we said on Good Friday, “That throne is the cross.” As we look upon our processional cross with the corpus of “The Risen Christ” upon it, let us be assured that, down to our own day, he remains victorious over all the pain and suffering symbolized by that ancient Roman instrument of torture. Every sign of the cross that we make over ourselves is an act of faith that Jesus’ victory is also ours. Even Jesus’ giving us the example of the apostle Thomas moving from unbelieving to believing—post resurrection—is a gift to us of his Divine Mercy. So as we move through the Easter Season, may we be inspired to be givers of the gift that we have received.
The Year of Mercy continues now through November 20, 2016. This Sunday celebrating Divine Mercy behooves us to also continue our exploration of what it means to be the Lord’s mercy to others in our daily lives. Yes there are those Spiritual and Corporal works of Mercy, part of the bedrock of our Christian identity, but what does it really mean to live a life of mercy in a world that is instantly personal and instantly global all at the same time? In mercy, may we spend little time doubting and most of the time actively believing.