Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Easter

Thomas was not in the upper room when Jesus appears and says “Peace be with you.” As a matter of fact

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, none of us were there. None of us were brought into fear at the foot of the cross and none of us had the honor of being at the Last Supper. Yet the closest any of us could be to those things was just last week.

On “Holy Thursday” we celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, on “Good Friday” the Passion of our Lord as we took time to venerate the Holy Cross, and on “Easter Sunday” when we experienced the story of the Resurrection. None of us were there and yet somehow we want come back today. Perhaps looking for those things again. Perhaps, like the Apostles in the upper room, with a little bit of doubt and fear, that our experience of the Risen Christ is “over” for another year.

Thomas wasn’t doubting. He was saying – “…unless I have the same experience as you all did, I may not have the strength and power to preach a full and authentic Gospel. I need to be able to tell people that I have seen the risen Lord.” Eight days later, with just one look, he says “My Lord and My God.” A
perfect confession of faith.

If you ever get stuck in prayer or at a loss for words when some experience confuses or exalts you, “My Lord and My God” is all you need to remember. Another deep and meaningful prayer is “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me, a sinner.” These two prayers have been used for 2000 years as the early Church sought to find ways to live out the Gospel after the Lord’s Resurrection and
Ascension into heaven.

And now, 2000 years later we can add another simple but powerful prayer to our hearts, to use when we want to offer a simple prayer for ourselves or someone else. “Jesus I trust in You.” These words were offered by a simple sister of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. Her name: Sister Mary Faustina.

JP II said in his homily at her Canonization “Give praise to the Lord for he is good, for his mercy is eternal”; ( Ps 118:1). Thus sings the Church in the Octave of Easter, as if receiving these words of the Psalm from the lips of Christ; from the lips of the risen Christ, who in the Upper Room brings the great announcement of divine mercy and entrusts its ministry to the apostles: “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, so I send you… Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain, they are retained” ( Jn 20:21-23).

“Before pronouncing the words of Peace, Jesus shows his hands and side to the Apostles. That is, he points to the wounds of the Passion, above all the wound of the heart, the source from which flows the great wave of mercy that pours out on humanity. John Paul said, in her many entries in her dairies, from that heart, Sister Faustina Kowalska , the blessed whom we will henceforth call a saint, {will see} saw two beams of light emanating which illuminate the world: “;The two beams -Jesus himself explained to her one day – represent blood and water”; ( Diary, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, p. 132).

“Blood and Water! Our thoughts turn to the testimony of the Evangelist John who, when a soldier on Calvary struck Christ's side with a spear, saw “blood and water”; come out (cf. Jn 19:34). The blood evokes the sacrifice of the cross and the Eucharistic gift. The water, recalls not only baptism, but also the gift of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 3:5; 4:14; 7 : 37- 39).”

In her many diaries she notes on Feb 22, 1931, in one of her many visions, Jesus said to her that he did not want to punish aching mankind. Instead he told St. Faustina, “…I desire to heal it, pressing it to my merciful heart.” He instructed St. Faustina to have an image of him painted and disseminated along with the words, “Jesus, I trust in you,” to help the faithful come to accept God’s mercy.

She lived in the Congregation of The Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, where she sometimes worked as a cook, gardener and porter to earn her keep. She did not wish to glorify herself by her visions, so she told very few people about them. She was unable to convince people that the Lord was reaching out to her in Peace – Peace to give to the World. Just as Jesus said “Peace” to the apostles in the Upper Room and to Thomas; Just as we will offer the sign of peace to each other in a moment at Mass.

Faustina’s message was: in spite of what is going on in the world, we have the strength to find peace in our faith and others. Her beautiful visions were often accompanied by times of great despair: She
continued to have visions of Jesus and hear His voice, even while suffering a kind of spiritual despair repeatedly described in her diaries: “The abyss of my misery was constantly before my eyes,” she laments.

She suffered physically from a terminal illness, and experiencing the Passion of our Lord in her body. She suffered spiritually when she went through the Dark Night of the Soul;. She suffered emotionally because often the sisters she lived with didn’t believe she was sick and thought she was avoiding work.

The genesis of the Divine Mercy painting was a vision Faustina experienced in 1931 while living in a convent in Plock, Poland. Jesus appeared to her in her cell wearing a white garment, she writes in her diary: “One hand [was] raised in the gesture of blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From beneath the garment, slightly drawn aside at the breast, there were emanating two large rays, one red, the other pale.” Jesus then commands her to paint this image and have it blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, to be known as the Feast of Mercy.

We were not there in the upper room and yet Jesus came to them. We were not with Faustina when the Lord told her to show the world Jesus’ Divine Mercy in the image we celebrate today. In both cases Jesus came to them. And in this way he comes now to us. We look for his Peace and Mercy. It is there. And now it is our turn to go from this place. We don’t wait for people to come to us. We are called to go and meet others.

Faustina died on October 5, 1938 at 33 years old. In that short life she had changed the world with one simple prayer that all of us can say: “Jesus, I Trust in you.”