In this Second Sunday of Easter we continue in the joy of the risen Lord. Particularly, the church invites us to rejoice in the Divine Mercy. God loves us though we sometimes hesitate and doubt his love. No wonder, in the Gospel Jesus visits the disciples in their house prison. He gives them peace and entrusts them with the ministry of mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation.
Jesus open the prison doors of my fears
Bible readings Act 2:42-47 Psalm 118:2-4,13-15,22-24 I Peter 1:3-9 John 20:19-31
Once bitten, twice shy
Following the death of Jesus the disciples lock themselves up in the house, fearing the Jews might come for them. Besides, Jesus’ death is a big blow to their dreams. They thought of him as a Messiah who would liberate them. His teachings, his miracles and his triumphal entry into Jerusalem confirmed the disciples in their hope and their choice. Alas, the man is arrested, crucified and dies like a criminal. All their hope is buried with Jesus. After such deception, there’s no room for naiveté. Once bitten, twice shy! We may be used to calling Thomas as doubting, perhaps he’s only prudent. He doesn’t want to be “cheated”, never again! He has to prove things out before he can trust.
Visit to house prison
On Sunday evening Jesus visits the house where the disciples have locked themselves up. Standing before them, he says: “Peace be with you!” He shows them his hands and his side; and he breathes on them, saying: “Receive the Holy Spirit.” What a joy for the disciples to see the Lord! And then he entrusts them the mission to forgive sins. I find one thing particularly interesting here.
The risen Christ does not seem triumphant but appears in all his vulnerability even though he can pass through locked doors. He still caries wounds in his body. And yet, despite his wounds, he talks about forgiveness. Isn’t that amazing?
In his wounds Jesus assures us, despite our own wounds that we have suffered, and whose marks we still carry in our bodies and in our memories, we can still get ourselves up and move forward.
Divine Mercy to my house prison
Yes, like the disciples, we too we lock ourselves up especially in those moments when we deliberately refuse to forgive, those moments when we give-in to discouragement because of deception or a failed relationship. If course, we cannot hasten the healing, we can’t hasten the forgiveness. Nevertheless, no matter how long it may take, we need the will to pick ourselves up and continue walking. It’s should be on our agenda, even though we cannot fix the date. We shouldn’t lose the will to move forward.
This Sunday, Jesus comes to the house prison of each one of us, he throws the doors open. He blows his breath on us. What does that mean?
Firstly, remember, John speaks of the first day of the week. Does that say anything to you? In the Bible the first day of the week is the day of creation. God begins to create on the first day. To create a human being, he blows his breath into the lump of clay –and there you have a living person. That’s what Jesus repeats on this first day of the week. He blows his breath of life on the disciples, paralysed by fear. He reanimates them –he recreates them by his breath of life, joy and peace. The disciples are ready for mission.
Sent as missionaries of life
One of the serious prison sentences one can get is to find oneself in a situation where you can’t forgive or receive forgiveness –it’s a cul de sac. Locked in such dead-end it’s almost impossible to move forward. Sometimes the hatred, the violence, and the conflict we may have experienced in life land us into such impasse. The words like pardon or forgiveness become simply inaccessible despite ourselves. We need Christ’s breath to reanimate us. We need Christ to reanimate our family, our relationships so that we in turn can reanimate others by the oxygen of forgiveness and reconciliation.
On this Sunday of Divine Mercy Jesus invites us to move forward with trust and not remain locked up in our fear, doubt and disappointment. And the secret of Divine Mercy can be summarised as a relationship of trust: Jesus, I trust in you. Indeed, once I’m assured, thanks to this trust, I can dare to come out from wherever I’m confined and regain the taste of life. This reminds me of a little story.
But who puts people in hell?
A disciple sets a trap for his master, and says: Master, does hell exist? The Master replies, yes, it does. The disciple continues; are there some people in there? Yes, there are, answers the master. And then concludes the disciple: if hell exists and there are people in there, then where’s the mercy of God that you keep telling us about?
The master remains silent, while the disciple congratulates himself in his heart, for having managed to pin his master to the wall –so he thinks.
Listen to me carefully, the master rubs his hands pensively, drawing the attention of his disciple. Hell is there. And there are people in there. But God has nothing to do with it. It’s the persons themselves who decide to go there and shut themselves inside. How? The disciple asks.
Haven’t you ever heard, the master asks, people who say: for what that person did to me I will never ever forgive him; I will never speak to him?
Many times I have heard that, the disciple replies. In fact, I also have people I will never forgive.
There you go, my dear, the master smiles, there’s nothing more I can tell you about hell. It’s precisely that space where there’s no room for forgiveness –a refusal to reconcile. Hell is the space where we keep ourselves enemies forever. Such space of death it’s a human being who creates it, and confines himself in there.
Jesus, I trust in your Divine Mercy. Come break the doors of the house prison where I have confined myself. Blow your breath of life on me; open for me the doors of pardon. Yes, Lord, send your spirit and the face of my life shall be renewed.
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