The gospel invites us on this Divine Mercy Sunday to ask for a clear, pure and strong belief. We meet that most wonderful, human and familiar figure of “doubting“ Thomas. He is so human, so like us but also a warning sign to us of the potential emptiness of our lives if we live without strong faith. There are many things that can be said of faith namely that it is a gift, it justifies us, it needs to be grounded in good works and it needs to be imparted to us by good, loving and faithful parents, godparents and catechists. However, above all it needs to be accompanied by the experience of the unmerited forgiveness of sins and the encounter of a loving heart with the God who is full of love and mercy.
On this Divine Mercy Sunday we need to hear the voice of Christ “those sins you forgive - they are forgiven".
We are surrounded by music, flowers and joy as we continue to bask in the wondrous events of the Easter Triduum and the resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday. The continuation of Easter is uplifting and dispels so much gloom and anxiety. However, we still have to reach out to others in faith and invite them to believe. How much Christ suffered in the garden of olives because of lukewarm hearts.
There were two unrelated but deeply connected events of these last days which explain something of the spiritual malaise that we are in. They show how in we have to step out in faith and proclaim the forgiveness of sins and of God’s most deep desire to give us his love and mercy. On Good Friday, two police officers walked into the Polish Catholic church in Balham, South London. The policewoman, as she approached the front, appeared to genuflect suggesting perhaps that she was a Catholic and the other went to the pulpit and as at a Papal Conclave declared 'Exeunt Omnes' meaning 'all out' - that they had to leave the church because they had broken Covid regulations. Then, on Easter Sunday, the Prime Minister paid tribute to how Christians had shown the teachings of Christ and the message of his death and resurrection permeate through every aspect of daily life.
I will not venture any personal judgement on the two events. Many would agree that the two seem to be contradictory and mutually exclusive. These are two events that come from the organs of government. Is there A contradiction?
What burns in my heart is that we seem to be surrounded by lukewarm hearts which do great harm to the proclamation of the gospel. We will soon hear in this Eastertide from the book of Revelation of the seven churches of the apocalypse in Asia Minor. The church which receives the greatest castigation indeed condemnation is that of Laodecia because of its lukewarm heart. In a similar vein the revelations of Divine Mercy speak of the agony of Christ in the garden and on the cross because of lukewarm hearts.
Saint Thomas remains lukewarm until he puts his finger into the wounds made by the nails of Jesus, which are wounds of love for us and mercy. Then, after that meeting he proclaims “my Lord and my God“.
There is a deep spiritual malaise around and in us which can only be answered when we desire to receive his mercy and to be fed with the sacrament of love which is when we go to confession and receive Holy Communion. Saint John in the second reading today tells us that the only one who can overcome the world and not be consumed by it is the one who believes that Jesus is the son of God, who came by water and blood, which is Divine Mercy.