My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
As I was saying at the beginning of Mass today, we have with us the RCIA Candidates for the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.
First of all, I want to welcome you for this special moment in your lives. It is a special day for all of you coming to the fullness of initiation in the Catholic Church.
Today, you receive the Holy Spirit sacramentally, and Jesus in Holy Communion — so we want to welcome you and offer our prayers as you continue your journey of faith, hope, and love as part of our family in the Catholic Church and here in our cathedral parish.
And I think it’s beautiful that you are doing it today as we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday during this joyful of season of Easter.
Because mercy is the meaning of this Easter season and this is what we see in our Gospel passage today. From the death and resurrection of Jesus, God’s mercy flows into this world.
So in the mystery of God’s plan — the heart of Christ is the source of mercy for the whole world. This is why this scene in the Gospel today is so important.
It is a passage of the Gospel that we all know well, especially because we have the conversation between Jesus and St. Thomas the Apostle — the Doubting Thomas — ending with St. Thomas’ act of faith. My Lord and My God.
And Jesus saying to him: Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.
But today I want to reflect especially on the first part of this scene. That first part — St. Thomas was not there at that time as we heard — that part of the scene happened in the evening of the first Easter day.
The apostles found the empty tomb in the morning. But no one knows yet — what it really means. They are afraid and so they have locked themselves in a room out of fear.
Then suddenly — even though the doors are locked — they find Jesus standing in their midst.
And what is the first thing that Jesus does?
I’m sure that you noticed it — the first thing that he does is to show them the wounds of his Passion, the signs of his Crucifixion. He shows them his hands where the nails were. He shows them his side where the soldier pierced his heart.
And then Jesus says to these words to the disciples:
As the Father has sent me, so I send you …
Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.
It is a dramatic scene — you can imagine how the disciples were! And it is a scene that will change the world forever.
Because here Jesus is entrusting his Church with his own mission and his own power — with God’s own power.
This is the greatest power on earth, my dear brothers and sisters. The power of mercy. The power to forgive sins — to set men and women free from sin and death.
And today we see Jesus sending his Church out into the world to carry on his mission — the great mission of spreading the good news of God’s mercy.
Our mission of each one of us — of the whole Church! This is the message of divine mercy. The message of Good Friday and Easter, the Cross and the empty tomb.
And for us, my brothers and sisters, that means we can live in peace — with confidence without fear.
Because Jesus is with us – the mercy of God is here.
In the first reading today, we have that beautiful description of the early Church. We see the results of that scene that we were contemplating before in the life of the early Church.
We hear how all the disciples in the early Church were sharing what they had; living by “the teachings of the apostles”; praying together and celebrating the Eucharist, “the breaking of the bread.”
And that is how we should live. With peace, with security, trusting in Jesus. He will never let us down.
So my dear brothers and sisters, let’s renew our desire to follow Jesus with our whole heart. He will always treat you with kindness and great mercy.
St. Faustina —we now know as the apostle of divine mercy — she used to like to say, “Jesus, I trust in you!” Simple, beautiful. But that that should be our attitude in life. To trust in Jesus.
We should be like the disciples that evening — just looking at Jesus and trusting in him. Cause God’s mercy, my dear brothers and sister, endures forever!
This is the promise of Easter! Because Jesus has risen from the dead, now he lives with us always. There is nothing for us to be afraid of — nothing we cannot face. So believe in his love! Believe in his mercy! Trust in Jesus.
So, especially this week, let us try to really live the Easter message of divine mercy with confidence and courage, trusting in Jesus. Let us also try this week to share the good news of Jesus’ mercy with others — to be merciful people, missionaries of mercy. In our families, at work, at school. With our neighbors. Everywhere.
Because when we remember how much God forgives us, it should be much easier for us to forgive others in our lives!
And my dear Candidates, you have our prayers as you continue your journey now with the company of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
And may Our Blessed Mother Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, continue to walk with us and to be on our side, to help us to trust Jesus and trust in his divine mercy.
Jesus, I trust in you!
1. Readings (Second Sunday of Easter, Year A): Acts 2:42-47; Ps. 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24; 1 Pet. 1:3-9; John 20:19-31.