April 101, 2021 Second Sunday of Easter — Divine Mercy Sunday
The written notes from Fr. Dennis’ Sunday homily. This homily is meant to be heard and not read.
The Gift of Faith is Peace
In the Gospel, we hear the doors were locked. Why were the doors locked? Fear! Fear is useless, what is needed is faith! “Do not be afraid!” The miracle of the Resurrection is the life transforming power of the Holy Spirit to change lives. Do not persist in your unbelief but believe. Many things can get in the way of our belief – in the church and in the world.
Jesus, the crucified one, has been raised up. His presence transformed their fear and doubt into faith. Jesus offered peace and forgiveness to those who deserted him and denied him in his suffering. Just like those disciples, Jesus comes to us just as we are in our faith journey today to offer us his peace. And peace begins with faith.
Jesus is able to walk through the locked doors of our fears and doubt. He shows his wounds and greets his friends with a message. What does Jesus say to them? “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven. Whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” Forgiveness brings peace.
Thomas, one of the twelve, was not there when Jesus appeared the first time. When told of Jesus’ appearance, Thomas refused to believe it. He wanted to see for himself, but only under certain conditions. “Unless I put my fingers in his hands, and my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Jesus comes to offer us his peace on this Divine Mercy Sunday. Where are we, or where are you, in your Easter faith this Sunday? Maybe you’re like Thomas in today’s gospel, I won’t believe it till I see it. Maybe the message for us in today’s gospel is that initial doubts can lead to deep faith. God has transformed a lot of doubters into men and women of great faith. (Paul, Peter in our first reading) Our prayer this Sunday of Easter, “Lord I believe, but help my unbelief.”
The passage to faith often goes through the locked door of fear and doubt. That is when Jesus breaks through that barrier and says to you and I: “Peace be with you.” In faith let us reach out and take hold of his wounded hand and be healed. Like Thomas we need to reach out and touch his hands. We can close ourselves off behind our own locked doors.
Come just as you are with all your doubts and fears and the Lord will be there to grant you peace.
We need to understand that doubt is like a door when opened to faith allows us to know, experience, and follow Jesus in a real way. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit – Peace is the greatest blessing we can receive. Faith is a bridge to peace. If we have faith, what ever happens to us we can live in peace. So come just as you are to the Lord with all your doubts and pains and take the hand of Jesus the wounded healer and be healed. Peace be with you!