2nd Easter Sunday (Note & Bulletin)

We tend to be either optimists or pessimists. For some the glass is always half empty, while for others it is always half full. Most of us however, would rather be positive than negative, we want to see the world through rose-coloured glasses. Yet this general pattern does not seem to fit when it comes to our faith. When I speak with people about their faith I’m often surprised about how strict we can be when it comes to ourselves. The person may be a regular Mass goer, a person who volunteers, a person who tries to do what is right despite the difficulties, a person who cares for family and friends, and yet they seem to think and feel that God, in some way, is not too pleased with them. When it comes to our faith it seems as if the glass is always half empty.

In this Sunday’s Gospel we have the story of Jesus’ appearance to the apostles with the exception of Thomas. Because Thomas was not present when the Risen Lord first appeared he refused to believe. When the Risen Lord appeared for the second time, and Thomas was present, Thomas was able to see the wounds of Christ and proclaimed his great profession of faith—“My Lord and my God!” With his doubt, Thomas has gained for himself a most unfortunate title, that is, Doubting Thomas. With this title we have given greater importance to his doubt instead of his faith. What is most important is not that Thomas said “I will not believe,” but that he said, “My Lord and my God!” And so in reality this passage is not about doubt but about faith. In our own lives is it not true that sometimes our faith seems imperfect? In a time of suffering is it not true that we pray and we pray and we pray for God’s help and intervention? And if that grace does not seem to be given, do we not doubt, wondering why God has seemed to will something different? Is it not true that despite our desire to love and to be understanding that sometimes we say mean and harsh things or do hurtful things? And when we know what we’ve said or done, and remorse has set in, do we not doubt that God will remain faithful to us? We may think and feel that it’s the last straw for God, that he has had enough of us. This feeling, though common, is a lie. The tomb is empty and so we have each been fully embraced by God.

This Sunday is also Divine Mercy Sunday. Mercy is not primarily about forgiving our faults and failings. It is about how God loves. And God’s merciful love is about the reality that there is no last straw, that God is always faithful. For God, our imperfect faith is not at the center of his heart. But what is held in his heart is each of us. God does not call us imperfect ones, he does not label us as doubters rather he embraces us as his beloved. And if this is so, can we not begin to make a shift in our faith?

We all have moments of doubt; we all have moments of sinfulness. But out of love we also try to serve God, to deepen our faith, and to make his Will our own. These are our gifts to God. When we receive a gift we don’t think it’s not so good, but we’re moved, we’re touched and we’re grateful. In a similar way, when we are humble enough to offer God our gifts of faith, He is moved, He is touched, and He is grateful. We are not doubters rather we are lovers. It’s true that we sometimes says things and do things that we wish we hadn’t. But it is equally true that these things are not who we are, nor are they what’s written on our hearts. We are the beloved of God, so we know and trust and depend on his merciful love that we can freely proclaim for ourselves and the world My Lord and My God!

God Bless and Take Care!

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