DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY
One of their group is missing, Thomas. He is one of the apostles, but also a distinct, independent self, a real individual. He cannot be both loyal to the group and disloyal to his own inner self. That would make his loyalty deceitful and worthless. For Thomas honesty and sincerity are, in fact, more important than loyalty and belonging. So when the others say, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he declares strongly and emphatically that before he is willing to believe that Jesus is really risen and alive he must see and test the evidence for himself. He won’t accept that claim just on their say-so. So it’s his honesty that makes him doubt and leads to him being called ever afterwards ‘Doubting Thomas’. The encounter with the Risen Jesus gives Thomas new heart and renewed belief.
A New Heart
Make still whatever in me is not you:
whatever is not your presence,
Impose silence on my desires,
my dreams of escape,
the violence of my passions.
Cover with your silence the voice of my claims,
of my complaints.
Impregnate with your silence
my nature too impatient to speak,
too inclined to exterior
and noisy action.
Impose your silence
even on my prayer,
that it may be pure zeal toward you.
Let your silence descend
to the depth of my being
and let this silence
ascend back toward you
in an homage of love.
Today is also Divine Mercy Sunday. In 2000, Saint John Paul II canonized the Polish religious mystic Faustina Kowalska, and during his homily officially designated the Second Sunday of Easter “Divine Mercy Sunday.” Her vision, received in the 1930s, in the light of St Thomas's doubt, and the resulting forgiveness he received from Jesus, calls upon all of us to be people of mercy. The vision of Christ she received was of a depiction of Jesus raising his right hand in blessing, and pointing with his left hand to His Heart from which flow forth two rays: one red and one white. The depictions often contains the message "Jesus, I trust in You!". The rays streaming out have symbolic meaning: red for the blood of Jesus, and pale for the water. The whole image is symbolic of charity, forgiveness and love of God, referred to as the "Fountain of Mercy". According to the diary of St Faustina, the image is based on her 1931 vision of Jesus. A number of artistic renditions of the image have appeared since Faustina directed the painting of the first image in Poland. These are widely venerated by Catholics worldwide, and are used in the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday.
Take me into your silence, Lord, far from the agitation of the world;
Into a silence where my being finds itself in its truth, in its nakedness, in its poverty,
because this silence allows me to discover my very self.
Lord, you have taught us that all our doings without love are nothing worth: send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love, the true bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whoever lives is counted dead before you. Grant this for the sake of your only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
I will thank you, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and glorify your name for evermore. You, O Lord, are gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger, full of kindness and truth. Psalm 86:11
THE WORD OF GOD: Ezekiel 36:24-28 I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and purify you from all defilement. A new heart I will give you, and put a new spirit within you, and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. You shall be my people, and I will be your God.