Gospel Reading for April 7, 2013

Gospel – John 20: 19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

divine mercy

This Sunday, the Sunday after Easter, is Divine Mercy Sunday.  What a perfect reading to fit this blessed day.  After all but one of the apostles abandoned Christ at the cross, He has mercy on them and appears to them, not speaking words of rebuke for leaving him but rather bringing his peace and love to them.  In his Divine Mercy, He doesn’t give the apostles what they truly deserve.  In the same way, He doesn’t give us what we deserve in our sinfulness, He gives us his love, forgiveness and mercy.  And He gives us the grace of salvation that he earned for us on the cross.

A few definitions for you:

Mercy – the withholding of what we truly deserve

Grace – the bestowing of what we do not deserve

Think of your own beloved children and how you can show them God’s mercy and grace through your own behavior toward them.  For example, when they are fighting and making everyone late for school (boy, this sounds familiar!), rather than yelling at them, calmly remind them that they are choosing to make everyone late, but you will help them if they want.  (I need to remember this tomorrow morning!)  Or when your toddler is screaming for something that you cannot understand, rather than get frustrated or ignoring him, you can hold him, talk to him, distract him, and love on him.  Or if your husband happens to be late for dinner, you can lovingly welcome him home rather than be upset that dinner has been delayed.  In these little acts of mercy, after Christ’s perfect Divine Mercy, you may find that mercy is bestowed upon you – when you are late for a school event, when you forget to fulfill a promise to your child, when you lose your temper and are forgiven by your children – mercy will be given back to you.

 

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