Sunday, April 7, 2013

Gospel Reflection

April 07, 2013
Sunday – Year of Faith – Easter Season
Second Sunday of Easter – Divine Mercy Sunday
by Rev. Fr. Stephen Mifsud (Mission Society of St. Paul  – Quezon City)
MSSP House Chapel / Mass for the poor)
Reading 1 Acts 5:12-16

Many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles. They were all together in Solomon’s portico. None of the others dared to join them, but the people esteemed them. Yet more than ever, believers in the Lord, great numbers of men and women, were added to them. Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them. A large number of people from the towns in the vicinity of Jerusalem also gathered, bringing the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits, and they were all cured.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24

R. (1) Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
R. Alleluia.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
R. Alleluia.
I was hard pressed and was falling,
but the LORD helped me.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
in the tents of the just:
R. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
R. Alleluia.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
R. Alleluia.

I, John, your brother, who share with you the distress, the kingdom, and the endurance we have in Jesus, found myself on the island called Patmos because I proclaimed God’s word and gave testimony to Jesus. I was caught up in spirit on the Lord’s day and heard behind me a voice as loud as a trumpet, which said, “Write on a scroll what you see.” Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me, and when I turned, I saw seven gold lampstands and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, wearing an ankle-length robe, with a gold sash around his chest.

When I caught sight of him, I fell down at his feet as though dead. He touched me with his right hand and said, “Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the netherworld. Write down, therefore, what you have seen, and what is happening, and what will happen afterwards.”

Gospel Jn 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.


When the risen Jesus appeared to his apostles, we notice that he still bore the wounds of his crucifixion on his glorified body.  Why was this? Why did not he remove the holes in his transformed body?   I wish to share with you a story I read some time ago which may give us a clue to the answer.  

A single mother, who lives in New York, in a period of six years saw her three sons shot dead, the youngest of them right in front of her door. It has left a deep wound in her heart.  Whenever  a child in the  neighborhood is killed, she relives her grief again.
Yet she has refused to be trapped by fear and depression. Instead, she has reached out to others. She has become an powerful advocate for gun control.  She goes in schools and other places to talk against guns and violence. She also started a support group for mothers in similar positions. And when a child dies, she visits the parents to comfort them.

She says that in the beginning she wished her sons had never been born. But now she says, "in their deaths there is sorrow, but there is also some unbelievable joy. If I had not had my three sons, I would not be the kind of person I am today. They help me to be strong. They help me not to be selfish.'

The door of her house still bears the marks of the bullets which killed her youngest son. Why doesn't she have the door repaired? 'I want those holes to be a constant reminder that a young man lost his life at that spot. When you fix things, people tend to forget.'
When you fix things, people tend to forget. Maybe that is why Jesus kept the marks of his wounds on his risen body.

Those wounds were the proof of his love. Jesus didn't just talk about love but gave an example of it, and had the wounds to prove it.  They are the wounds the Good Shepherd who suffered in defending his flock from the wolf.

When we see, we remember... When we see the wounds on the resurrected Christ, we remember of his saving love... we remember that love wins evil... and hopefully when we see we also get rid of the doubts and believe like Thomas.

Moreover, the wounds of Jesus help us to come to terms with our own wounds.  All of us get hurt... in the past and also in the present. Many times there is a tendency to hide our wounds, because of the belief that if we show our weakness people will not respect us anymore. However, those who don't cover up their own struggles, and who live through them, give hope to others.

Wanda Butts an Afro-American who lost her 16 year old son Josh drowned in a lake,  started a project to teach people how to swim (started first with herself being taught) she already helped more than 1,000 children in Ohio learn how to swim.  Her pain and wounds caused by the death of her son became the source of strength and love for others.

This is our mission:  to convert our weakness and our wounds into strength, and to offer our own experience as a source of healing to others.  You where once  dead-poor but managed to find a way to live, don’t hide it but help others to overcome their poverty.
You experienced violence when you were young... don’t cover it, accept the cruelty of  it and ... help others who are passing through it.
Show your wounds like Jesus...they will become the source of hope, strength and faith to others.

No comments:

Post a Comment