My Dear Sisters and Brothers! The humankind has faced many deadly conditions. Do you know however what is the most lethal of them all? It is sin. It is so lethal that when Jesus took it upon himself as St Peter wrote: ‘He was bearing our sins in his own body on the cross,’ he died…
I would like us to return in prayer to the day we commemorated nine days ago, the day called Good Friday, the day when the Son of God died on the cross. It is a very sombre day, isn’t it? It is a very reflective day, isn’t it? However it is also a day of a great celebration because as Jesus Christ died the Church was born. Good Friday is our birthday. In the early centuries of Christianity Origen wrote: ‘The spear opened Jesus side. From the wound in Christ’s side has come forth the Church.’ St John Chrysostom contemplating the open heart of Jesus taught his fellow believers: ‘The water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the Holy Eucharist.’
Fifteen centuries later, in 1931, in her convent Saint Faustina was granted a vision of the Blessed Lord which is so familiar to many throughout the world who venerate the image of Divine Mercy. She was also given an explanation of it: ‘The two rays denote Blood and Water. The pale ray stands for the water that makes souls righteous. The red stands for the Blood which is the life of the souls. These two rays issued forth from the very depth of my tender mercy when my agonised heart was opened by a lance on the cross.’ Those who nourish themselves on the deep reflections of the Church Fathers: Origen, St John Chrysostom, St Augustin, etc., the message of the blood and water is familiar too. It is the tressure which the Holy Spirit doesn’t want to be buried and forgotten. The Holy Spirit throughout the centuries of the Church has been inspiring the holy men and women to rediscover it again and again. In the twenty first century, by St Faustina, we too have been reminded of the treasure which St John Chrysostom described in this way: ‘The soldier pierced the Lord’s side, he breached the wall of the sacred temple, and I have found the treasure and made it my own.’
This treasure we make our own because it gives us life. Listen, my Sisters and Brothers, to the joyous exultation of St Paul in the Letter to the Romans: ‘When we were baptised in Christ Jesus, were baptised into his death. So by our baptism into his death we were buried with him, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glorious power, we too should begin living a new life.’ St Augustin marvelled as he was proclaiming this mystery to his fellow Christians: ‘There it was that the gate of life was opened, from there the sacraments of the Church flow; without these one does not enter true life.’
Struggling with the deadliness of sin the humankind for two thousand years has had a vaccine within a hand reach like Thomas in today’s Gospel did. It is accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. ‘My Lord and my God’ spoken from the midst of our misery allows Jesus to apply to us the vaccine he developed on the cross. The Gospel doesn’t tell us that Thomas touched Jesus’ wounds. He was offered to do that but we don’t know whether he did it. What we know is that he believed. As I meditated this scene it struck me that in this way St John assured us that we who cannot touch the Lord Jesus can come to believe in him. As we look at the image of the Divine Mercy we are moved to confess: ‘My Lord and my God. Jesus I trust in you.’
This Sunday which brings to conclusion the Sacred Nine Days: the Easter Triduum and the Easter Octave, which we also call Novena of Divine Mercy, we witness that what happened on the cross on Good Friday, when Jesus gave up his spirit and had his heart pierced is unveiled for us again.
On this Divine Mercy Sunday we gathered here as the Church witness Jesus giving up his spirit again as he breathes on his Apostles in the Upper Room.
On this Divine Mercy Sunday we gathered here as the Church witness Jesus with his pierced heart exposed again as he offers his mercy to Thomas and to us the people of little faith.
On this Divine Mercy Sunday we gathered here as the Church with faith, love and trust recommit ourselves to our baptismal promises and beg for the Holy Eucharist.
This is our vaccination for eternal life or using the words of the great preacher St John Chrysostom we say: ‘I have found the treasure and made it my own.’
Let me conclude with a faith confession. As I look at you this afternoon I recall the words of Christ which St Faustina wrote down: ‘These rays of mercy will pass through you, just as they have passed through this Host, and they will go out through all the world.’ Offer my Sisters and Brothers this vaccine developed by Jesus on the cross to the people you meet.