Mercy Came for Thomas. Mercy Comes for You.

Homily for Divine Mercy Sunday (Year A)
April 19, 2020
Sacred Heart, EGF – Sunday, 9:30 AM (Livestream due to COVID-19)

Focus: Mercy came for Thomas; Mercy comes for you.
Function: Come back to the upper room.


Caravaggio St. Thomas

Caravaggio, The Incredulity of St. Thomas

Where did he go?

Perhaps he needed some air…

Perhaps he couldn’t continue to keep cooped up in that room for another minute…

Perhaps the disciples needed some groceries and he was the man…

Where did he go?

Perhaps he went to the tomb. The Master had said he was going to prepare a place for him. He had said that “where I am going, you know the way.”

Where did he go?

We don’t know. We don’t know where Thomas went.

What we do know is that he was suffering. He was in pain.

His heart had been wounded.
He had placed all his hope in Christ, and Christ had died. With Christ’s death, Thomas’s heart and hope died as well.
He felt an unrest.
He couldn’t take it anymore.

So he left.

Where was he?

We don’t know.
All we know is that He wasn’t there.

He wasn’t there on the first day.

He wasn’t there when the risen Jesus stood in their midst.

He wasn’t there when Jesus cast out their fear.

He wasn’t there when the peace of Christ, the peace that surpasses all understanding, descended upon the disciples, healing their broken hearts.

He wasn’t there when the Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit onto the disciples.

He wasn’t there. Then he came back.

The others had seen. He had not. He had missed out. And so his heart hardened.

“Until I see for myself, until I place my finger in the nail marks of his hands and feet, until I place my hand in his wounded side, I will not believe!”

Where had he gone?
Jesus.

He knew everything.
He knew that Thomas was suffering.
He knew Thomas wasn’t there.
He also knew that Thomas would be coming back.
Couldn’t he have waited?

Where had he gone?
Jesus.

We don’t know.
What we do know is that He came back.

Jesus came back.

He came back for Thomas.
And, brothers and sisters, he comes back for you.

Today we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday.

What is mercy? It is love’s second name (St. John Paul II).

God is love.
Mercy is love in the presence of suffering.
The word “mercy” comes from the Latin word “misericordia”, which means “a pitied heart”.

Mercy is love coming to stand in the presence of someone who is suffering, and by that presence, alleviating the suffering, taking the suffering upon itself.

God is love.
God is rich in mercy.

God’s greatest mercy was to send his Son to undergo his suffering, death, and resurrection so that we who were dead in our sins could be raised to new life.

God’s mercy came for Thomas.
Mercy came today – on the Eighth Day.

Thomas had come back. So, Jesus came back.

Thomas had a second chance.
He was shown mercy.
He encountered the risen Jesus.

Thomas himself rose. He was resurrected.
He experienced a resurrection of his faith and his hope. He was stronger than ever. He, like the others, was now a witness.

My Lord and My God!

Brothers and sisters, perhaps you are like Thomas.

Perhaps your hope has been shattered.

Perhaps you are filled with fear and doubt.

Perhaps you can’t bring yourself to believe that the God who is Love is Alive.

Perhaps you are locked in the upper room of your sins,
quarantined in an isolated prison of your own making,
afraid to come out because of what it will mean…

Jesus came back for Thomas.
And Jesus comes back for you.

Today is the Eighth day.
Today was Thomas’s day.
Today is your day.

Thomas wasn’t beyond the reach of God’s mercy.  He just needed to return to the upper room where the community was gathered so that he could experience it.

You are not beyond the reach of God’s mercy.
You just need to return to the place where mercy is found.

Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them. Whose sins you retain are retained.

I am speaking, of course, of “the upper room” of the confessional.

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. Special graces flow out of the wounds of Christ. These graces allow him to enter the locked room of your heart and to bring with him the peace that you long for. Ask him for the grace to return. Ask him for the courage and grace to make a good confession if it’s been a long time.

Say, “Jesus I believe, help my unbelief!”
Say, “Jesus, I trust in you!”

Do that today, and very soon, you will be exclaiming with Thomas:
“My Lord and My God!”

One thought on “Mercy Came for Thomas. Mercy Comes for You.

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