From the desk of Ms. Kathleen Cook, Director of Religious Education
Theme: Divine Mercy Sunday Thomas believes because he sees Jesus.
Summary: The setting for this passage finds the apostles clinging to one another out of fear and hiding because they have lost their anchor (Jesus). When Jesus appears to them, he greets them with mercy: Peace by with you. As the story progresses, Jesus says another merciful phrase and gives the apostles the command to be elements of forgiveness in the world. The Church is called to continue extending this mercy today.
Scripture: John 20:19-31 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
On the Sunday that Jesus rose from the grave, he appeared to a group of his disciples. One of the disciples, whose name was Thomas, was not with them. When the disciples told Thomas that they had seen Jesus and that he was alive, Thomas said, “I won’t believe it until I see it with my own eyes. I want to see the nail-prints in his hands and put my hand in the place where the spear was thrust into his side.”
A week later, Jesus appeared to his disciples again. This time Thomas was there. Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Put your hand into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Then Thomas believed!
A lot of people today won’t believe that Jesus really rose from the grave because they haven’t seen him with their own two eyes. They want “proof of identity” before they will believe. Jesus said, “Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed.”
Heavenly Father, we thank you for sending your son to die on the cross for our sin. Help us to accept by faith that Jesus has risen from the grave and that he is alive. Amen.
My Promise to Jesus: I too will tell those around me, “Jesus is risen! He is truly alive!”
Reflect: If a word or phrase from the Gospel captures your heart, sit quietly for several minutes, repeating it to yourself and asking God to show you how it applies to your life.
Or reflect and possibly journal on the following question: What people in your life show you Jesus’ wounds?
Suggested book that compliments today’s Gospel:
The Bird Man
Written by Veronika Charles
Family Discussion: Our family life would no doubt be enhanced if we were able to transform Jesus’ greeting into a central feature in our family’s interactions. After his Resurrection, “Peace be with you” is the first thing that Jesus says to his disciples. This could be our daily family prayer for one another. In today’s Gospel, we also hear that Jesus next breathed on his disciples and gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit. In Baptism, each of us has received the gift of the Holy Spirit as well as the forgiveness of sins. Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Our Baptism, then, invites us to share in the peace that Christ gave to his disciples and commissions us to share that peace of Christ by generously forgiving others as Jesus taught.
As you gather as a family, think about gifts that you might receive together such as a coloring book and crayons, a book and bookmark, or an electronic item and batteries. Observe that Jesus also paired two gifts together in today’s Gospel. Read aloud this Sunday’s Gospel, John 20:19-31. Discuss the two gifts Jesus gave to his disciples: peace and the Holy Spirit. Ask: What were the disciples to do with these gifts? (They were sent as Jesus was sent by the Father to forgive sins.) Recall that we have each received Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit at our Baptism and that peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Observe that since we also have received these gifts from Christ, we are also sent to be people who forgive others as Jesus taught. Determine an action that your family can do to share peace and forgiveness with one another. Pray together the Prayer to the Holy Spirit or the Peace Prayer of St. Francis.