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What must it have been like for Thomas not to be there when Jesus appeared to the disciples? Think about two of the disciples. There are ten Resurrection accounts, ten times that we hear of Jesus either appearing to individuals, to groups, or to hundreds of people. The very first account is when Mary came to the tomb early in the morning, Mary Magdalene. When she got there, and the tomb was empty, she was distraught that somebody had taken the body of our Lord. Then she noticed this gardener working there and said, “Sir, tell me where they have taken him.” The gardener looks at her and says, “Mary,” and at the announcement of her name, she realizes, and she sees, that it’s Jesus. For the first time. Then she goes to tell the disciples, and the disciples can’t get over the fact that she saw Jesus. St. John Chrysostom says that the disciples, when they heard what Mary told them, were obliged to do either one of two things, either to disbelieve or to believe, and if they believed, they probably grieved that he did not count them worthy enough to have sight of him.

I think this happens to us when other people experience God in some ways, they may have a profound experience of him and share it with us. We think, how come I’ve never had that experience? Or we think I don’t know if this person is really all there, right? We tend to have one of those two reactions. These Resurrection accounts show us that Jesus does appear to His disciples and appears to them in different ways and at different times. But the appearance of Jesus to His disciples is never for their own faith alone. It’s for them to share, to take back to the faith community.

That’s the same for all of us. Why don’t we think of that?  How do you react, how do I react, when somebody else shares a profound experience of God with you? Do you get excited about that and want to hear more about that, or do you feel like why aren’t I experiencing that? I think those are two tendencies we have whenever we experience something like this.

We hear in the gospel that Jesus appears to the disciples today, and He goes through the locked doors. He can enter their fear and walk right through the door with his resurrected body. They see, and they experience it. Thomas is one of those who missed out on the experience. Thomas is very upset about this, and he says, “Unless I see him, and I touch him, and I put my finger in his hand and my hand in the side of his chest, I will not believe but will be unbelieving.” Thomas is being very bold, saying that unless I can experience what you guys did and put my finger in his side, I won’t believe it. The amazing thing is Jesus accommodates him. Jesus comes back and appears, and He says, “Here, Thomas, put your finger in my hand. Put your hand in my side and do not be unbelieving but believe.” 

So, Jesus works this miracle of the Resurrection with the disciples. They’re gathered there. They’re locked in the room together. But He gives them another absolutely profound, unbelievable miracle. He does this first by breathing on them. He breathes and gives them the Holy Spirit, and He gives them this profound miracle. He says, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven, and whose sins you retain are retained.” I think in our day and age today, I think we have difficulty even believing in sin a lot of times, but then there also seems to be this thing, I don’t need to go to a priest to confess. I can just go right to God. I don’t even need to go to Jesus. I can go right to God. The whole reason God sent his only son into the world was to forgive us of our sins.  After Jesus died and he rose, he wanted to continue that experience with his disciples here on earth. He gave them this gift of the Holy Spirit to forgive sins.

St. John Chrysostom continues, saying, “They received this certain spiritual power not only to raise the dead and to do miracles but to remit sin. Whoever’s sins you remit are remitted, and whoever’s sins you retain, they are retained.” They receive the power of working miracles. I think some of the difficulty is that we have kind of forgotten that only God can forgive sins. We’ve gotten into this mentality that we can forgive our own sins. The reason Jesus was crucified, the reason He was declared blasphemous, is because He forgave sins. Over and over again, the Jews, at that time, would say only God can forgive sin. Who is this man? 

I wanted to give you an example, just a brief example from each of the gospels. So, Mark, Chapter 2: “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic child, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’  Now, some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, ‘Why does this man speak that way? He’s blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?’ And Jesus immediately knew what they were thinking to themselves and said, ‘Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier to the paralytic to say, your sins are forgiven or rise, pick up your mat, and walk’?” So, Jesus works two miracles. Forgive him of his sins, and He says, rise, pick up your mat, and Walk. 

In Luke, Chapter 7: “When Jesus is anointed by the woman, He says, ‘You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment, so I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven.’ She has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven loves little. So, He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ The others at the table, the disciples, said to themselves, ‘Who is this? Who even forgives sins?’ And Jesus said, ‘Your faith has saved you. Go and sin no more.” 

Then finally, in Matthew, we hear about the paralytic on the stretcher. “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Courage child. Your sins are forgiven.’ And at that time, some of the scribes complained saying, ‘This man is blaspheming.’ Jesus knew what they were thinking and said, ‘Why do you harbor evil thoughts?’  He tells the man to rise, pick up his mat, and walk.” Over and over again, Jesus is working miracles, and along with working the miracles, he is forgiving sins. Each time he forgives somebody’s sins, they say to him, “He’s blaspheming because only God can forgive sins.” And that’s true. Only God can forgive sins, but Jesus is one with the Father.

After Jesus suffered, died, rose, gave the spirit to his disciples, and formed his church, He gave the apostles the power to forgive sins. I mentioned all this because we’re on Divine Mercy Sunday. You can see the image that we have of Divine Mercy. Jesus appeared to St. Faustina, much like the apparition we hear about in the resurrection account today. He appeared to her and said, “Dear Sr. Faustina, I want you to paint this image of me so that people may see me, and I want people to see me in a special way with these rays.” Those blue and kind of blue, white, and red rays are coming from the heart of Jesus. Those rays symbolize the white and blue waters of baptism and the forgiveness of sins in Confession, the washing, purifying, and cleansing power of Jesus. The red would be his very body and blood. When we come to Mass, we experience a miracle every time Jesus appears to us in the very body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. So many people in the world don’t know about this miracle, don’t believe in it, or may not believe in the miracle like you, and I do. 

Jesus tells St. Faustina, “My daughter, tell the whole world about my mercy. I desire that this Feast of Mercy,” today, Divine Mercy Sunday, “be a refuge for sinners and a shelter for souls, especially for those poor sinners. On that day the very depths of my tender mercies are open, and I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon the souls who approach the font of mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishments.” What the church calls a plenary indulgence. Complete forgiveness of sins and also the remission of temporal punishment. Sometimes people will say, “Father, what does that mean? What does temporal punishment?” Well, if we get caught up in any kind of addiction or sin, usually when we give that sin up, there’s some kind of withdrawal. So, say you give up smoking or drinking or drugs or anything, there’s usually some kind of physical withdrawal that happens. Jesus is giving us even a washing away of that temporal punishment. He tells her, “On that day are opened wide the floodgates of the graces that flow and let no soul fear to draw near to me.

Even though its sin scarlet red, my mercy is so great that no mind may, be it man or Angel, will be ever able to fathom it. Everything that exists comes from the depth of my mercy. The Feast of Mercy emerged from my tender desire, and it’s my desire to be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the front of my mercy.” Does mankind have peace? No, we don’t. We need to turn to the font of mercy. Just the last point that Jesus makes to her. “The first Sunday after Easter is to be the Feast of Mercy, and on that day, priests are to tell everyone about my great and unfathomable mercy.” That’s what I’m doing right now. I’m telling you about His great mercy. “I’m making you the administrator of my mercy to tell the confessor that the image will be on view in the church. By means of this, the image will grant souls many graces, so let every soul access it.

We have the Divine Mercy image for us today. At 3:00 PM, we’ll be reciting the Divine Mercy chaplet. We’ll have confessions from noon to 2:00 PM, so if you want to experience the resurrected Christ in the Sacrament of Confession, that’s available. If you’d like to receive the indulgence, all you have to do is go to confession 20 days before today or 20 days after, receive communion, and pray the Divine Mercy chaplet, and you can receive this wonderful grace that God gives to us. He still continues to show himself to us. He does, primarily in the sacraments. We experience them here at the Eucharist, but we also experience Him in Confession through the hands and the words of the priest that He has given the power to forgive us of our sins. 

The Divine Mercy Jesus Christ Print     

 Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul