Only This Kind of Mercy Can Be Divine

Week of April 23, 2017

Today in the proclamation of the Gospel, we hear of an encounter with the believing Thomas.  He is surrounded by his fellow disciples and he can’t muster up the courage to believe them and what they are telling him.  They are saying, “the Lord is alive”.  While he wants to believe and longs for that to be true, his needs are on a deeper level.  His heart is set on so much more.  With the crucifixion, he was devastated.  With the Lord appearing when he wasn’t with rest of the group, he might be wrestling with self-doubt.   He might not feel included.  It is not until a week later that Jesus appears again.  Can you imagine the self-reflection that took place?  He might have beaten himself up so much for missing the first moment.  He might have wondered if it would happen again.  He might have wondered what was so important that he wasn’t with the others.  All of this has a week to infiltrate the mind and soul of Thomas.

How patient are we?  How often do we wonder about test results from the doctor’s office? How often do we wait to hear a reply from an email or an online social sight?   Our desire to know something immediately has intensified in the electronic age.  What happens to us when time moves slowly?  Usually we self-inspect, self-doubt, self-destruct.

God knows all of this.  Jesus, in His divine love and in His divine mercy, overcomes the obstacles and wants us all to be like the believing Thomas.  Thomas quickly forgets the walls, forgets the time lost in self-doubt and leaps over all obstacles to believe.  Jesus longs for us to move from our self-created world to a world created by God, for God and through God.  To get there we need a mercy that is divine.  We need a mercy that patiently waits for us to acknowledge the lifesaving love Jesus has for us.  This mercy, divine in its origin, does not ask where we have been or how long it has been since we have encountered Christ.  It is a mercy that says “welcome home”.  Jesus did everything for the believing Thomas to have him experience the need to be saved, the need to leave self-destructive ways of doubt and embrace the real true presence of the Risen Savior.  To this be the glory of God for all of us.  God wants us to know the divine mercy Jesus won for us on the cross and the divine mercy offered to us through the gift of the resurrection.  Only this kind of mercy can be divine.

Reverend John J. Ouper