By Laura Ann Phillips
St Paul said it right.
“I cannot understand my own behaviour. I fail to carry out the things I want to do, and I find myself doing the very thing I hate.” (Rom 7:14-15)
Sad, isn’t it? Familiar, too.
It’s like being in a relationship that’s really working; there’s trust, you enjoy each other’s company, your weakness is safe in the other. This thing practically weaves its own theme music; its own love song!
That’s our relationship with Jesus.
Then, somebody cheats.
That would be us.
Divine Mercy is the forgiveness Jesus offers us every time we find ourselves doing the bad things we hate, or, the bad things we love.
We simply have to want His Mercy.
In His revelations to St Maria Faustina Kowalska from 1931, Jesus asked that the Feast of Divine Mercy be celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter.
Now, the Gospel reading for that Sunday echoes the very intimacy Jesus wants with you and me; the relationship He’s willing to die for.
In that reading, Thomas the Apostle refuses to believe the other apostles’ story that Jesus had risen from the dead. Apostle, note: hand-picked by Jesus for grooming as a future shepherd of souls.
And, it wasn’t a bad pick; John’s gospel reveals a forthright, loyal man.
He trusted Jesus enough to admit when he didn’t understand His sayings (Jn 14:5). He wouldn’t let Jesus go to Judea alone, 13 short miles away from Jerusalem where the authorities so despised Him.
“Let us go also,” he tells the other disciples, “and die with Him.” (Jn 11:16). He witnessed Lazarus being raised from the dead there, as he had seen other powerful miracles over the years.
Thomas knew who Jesus was.
Now, John’s gospel also refers to Thomas as “Didymus” or, “The Twin”. We don’t know whether Thomas had an actual twin, but it is thought that the name may have referred to his character, rather than a sibling.
Believing one thing, doing something else; I can hear Paul again.
After all he had seen, Thomas couldn’t bring himself to believe what the others were saying.
Jesus alive? He raised others from the dead; who would raise Him?
“Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe!” (Jn 20:23)
How gentle must Jesus’ voice have been, eight days later: “Peace be with you.” (Jn 20:26)
His eyes as He stretched out His hands to Thomas: “Put your finger here; look, here are my hands…”
There’s that music again; our theme song.
“Give Me your hand; put it into My side. Doubt no longer, but believe.” (Jn 20:27)
Jesus didn’t wait for Thomas to come around; He came around.
And, He’ll come to you and me, if we’re willing, even if we haven’t really changed, don’t yet deserve Him.
But, then, that’s what makes it Divine Mercy.