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Second Sunday of Easter – Divine Mercy Sunday

Posted on April 16, 2023, by Elisa Rodriguez SL

In today’s Gospel, John gives us enough material to reflect on for the rest of the week. Most of us, however, like homilies that are short and to the point, so let’s not get too excited about boring homilies. I’ll try to accommodate all of us.

The disciples of Jesus had been through a traumatic experience and most likely were still trying to figure out what was going on and what was to become of them, now that Jesus was not with them. So when Jesus appears to them and shows them his hands and his side, they could hardly contain their joy. Jesus seems eager to get down to business. He said to them, “Peace be to 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.”

Let me pause for a moment to look at what, I think, Jesus is really saying and doing.

First, he is calming the fears and the effects of the horrific trauma that they experienced at the passion and death of Jesus.

Second, he assures them of the Father’s love for him and for them. They will now have to continue the mission without his physical presence.

Third, he empowers them with the gift of the Holy Spirit to facilitate peace to all who need it and to work for justice, for only then will people experience the Divine Mercy.

Allow me to insert a personal family story here. Most of the Loretto Community knows that I had a brother who was a priest. One day a member of our community was visiting our home when she may have asked him what he valued most about his priesthood. His answer was quick and simple, it was his ability to lift the weight of sin from the shoulders of people who sought God1s forgiveness. The power given to the disciples is still powerful in our lives today.

Let us now move to the Thomas event. Thomas was not present with the group of the disciples when Jesus first visited them in that locked room. But when he was told about Jesus being alive, he refused to believe. He even set the conditions for his belief.

Now, many of us stop at this point of the story and make our own judgment about poor Thomas. But we have a lot to learn both about Thomas and about what Jesus teaches us using this situation. Jesus shows Thomas his hands and his side and invites him to touch him. Jesus deals with Thomas with great compassion and gentleness, which shows all of us that love envelopes forgiveness. Thomas learned a great deal about himself that day. We know that because of his words, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus gave all of us another gift, that day: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Elisa Rodriguez SL

Elisa Rodriguez SL

A longtime educator, Elisa served for many years in Texas, in particular in San Antonio, where she worked for the San Antonio Archdiocese as director of the Office of Hispanic Affairs and Archdiocese co-director, and in El Paso, where she taught school and served as co-vicar for women religious for the El Paso Diocese, director of spirituality programming for Loretto’s El Convento and as administrator and chaplain at Nazareth Hall Nursing Center. She also served for many years as a member of Loretto’s Executive Committee. Elisa now resides at Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Ky., serving the Community there.