Reflection Based on the Gospel of the II Sunday of Easter – Divine Mercy Sunday

Divine Mercy Sunday 2020

We have got a very interesting picture of the Apostles in today’s gospel. It is hard to believe that this is the group of Jesus’ disciples who had already experienced the Resurrection, because women told them about the empty grave and the angels they had met there. The apostles have already seen joy and astonishment on the faces of many people. Meanwhile, we heard in the gospel that the door to the Upper Room was still closed and the hearts of the disciples were still frightened.

One of the most important heroes of this gospel is, of course, Thomas. Maybe we do not have the best associations with this apostle of Jesus. Maybe many of us would like to judge Thomas very harshly and maybe we would like to criticize him for his unbelief. But today, let’s try to see a completely different picture of Thomas. From the very beginning of his friendship with Jesus, Thomas associated great hopes with his Master. From the moment he met him, Jesus became the meaning of his life.

Therefore, for many reasons, we can understand the attitude and behaviour of this apostle who, after the death of his Master, became very disappointed and wanted to prove that Jesus is alive. He did not want to be lied to in such an important and fundamental matter, and therefore he wanted to check, touch and see the wounds of his Master. As we heard in the gospel – Jesus answered his request, but Thomas, frightened by the sight of Jesus, changed his mind and didn’t take advantage of this opportunity to touch his side. It was enough that he saw, and then that great feeling for his Master and Lord was reborn again.

Why, today, on the second Sunday after Easter, do we focus so much on the figure of the Apostle Thomas? First of all, it seems to me that this figure is very close for many of us especially at this time of pandemic and isolation. Why?

I think that each of us has or had many questions and doubts about faith; and each of us constantly look for answers to them – just like Thomas.

When I read this gospel a few days ago, I was wondering why Thomas was looking for an answer to his dilemmas in solitude and why he left the community of his friends – the Apostles. Loneliness was certainly not the best way to deal with the hardships and dilemmas. And I think that it can be similar in our lives. When we experience difficult moments and when we ask ourselves various questions about faith: Where is God? Is he really alive or can we really meet him? – very often in such moments – just like Thomas, we move away from a community that is our church or a parish, we leave our friends choosing loneliness.

Therefore, today’s gospel teaches us that it is always worth staying in the community of believers – in the community of true disciples of Jesus, because only there can we meet the resurrected Jesus and only there can we find answers to the most important questions.

Today is also the Feast of Divine Mercy, which we celebrate for the 20th time. Perhaps many of us know and remember the beginning of this feast and the famous pilgrimage of Saint Pope John Paul II to Krakow, when the Pope established the second Sunday after Easter as the Feast of Divine Mercy. Perhaps many of us read the diary of Saint Sister Faustina, which has been translated into all languages ​​and is the most-popular book in the world, right after the Bible!

As a Polish priest, today I could talk a lot about God’s Mercy; about Saint Sister Faustina and John Paul II. But I would like to write you something very personal today. As you know, I was born in Poland and for many years I was a priest of the Diocese of Płock. It was in this city, in Płock, by the Vistula River, where I studied in a seminary for six years and I was ordained a priest in 2007.

If you have read the Diary of Saint Sister Faustina – in which she described her unusual encounters and dialogues with Jesus – if you know this interesting and unusual book, you know that this city – Płock is mentioned there many times. It was just there that Sister Faustina lived for several years and that’s where Jesus said to her: “Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus I Trust in You. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and throughout the whole world”.

I want to tell you that I am very grateful to God, because very often during my studies I could visit this unusual and holy place. I could go there to pray and imagine young Faustina – a simple and uneducated religious sister (baking bread – it was her daily hard work in the convent where she lived). Today she is a great saint, well known throughout the world – we call her the secretary of God’s mercy.

I would like to finish today’s reflection with a beautiful prayer written by Saint Faustina:

Help me, O Lord that my eyes may be merciful, so that I may never judge from appearances, but look for what is beautiful in my neighbours and come to their rescue.

Help me that my ears may be merciful, so that I may give heed to my neighbours’ needs and not be indifferent to their pains.

Help me, O Lord that my tongue may be merciful, so that I should never speak negatively of my neighbour, but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all.

Help me, O Lord, that my hands may be merciful and filled with good deeds, so that I may do only good to my neighbours and take upon myself the more difficult and toilsome tasks.

Help me, that my feet may be merciful, so that I may hurry to assist my neighbour, overcoming my own fatigue and weariness. My true rest is in the service of my neighbour.

I will refuse my heart to no one. I will be sincere even with those who, I know, will abuse my kindness. I will bear my own suffering in silence. May your mercy, O Lord, rest upon me.

O my Jesus, transform me into yourself, for you can do all things. Amen.

St Faustina, Divine Mercy

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