In the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday we are faced with the reality of what mercy looks like.
The wounds in Christ’s side, the holes in his hands and feet, show us the cost of Divine Mercy. It is not cheap.
Hidden in a room, with the doors locked, the apostles are afraid and alone. They certainly must have felt defeated. Sin has a tendency to do that. They also must have felt guilty at denying Christ and they certainly were scared that the same wound happen to them.
Dazed and confused by the death and resurrection, would Christ come back to condemn them of their failure at believing in him and his word?
The typical response to being denied, abandoned, beaten and abused would be vengeance or a desire for justice and to get back at those who had done such things, but that is not the case with Christ.
Instead of condemning the apostles he offers peace. “Peace be with you” is offered three times, and even more authority is given to them, the authority of his wounds – the ability to forgive sins.
No condemnation, no reprimand, no fussing on Christ’s part is offered to those who could have rightly been condemned, only peace.
Thomas goes further in his disbelief by stating that unless he places his hands in his side and the holes in his hands and feet, he will not believe. Certainly Christ would condemn him for this further lack of faith, right? No.
I believe the artist Caravaggio gets it right in his painting of the “Incredulity of St. Thomas.” Look at Christ’s hand on Thomas’ wrist. It is as though he has grasped his hand to plunge it into his side like the lance. “Touch Thomas, feel the wounds, immerse yourself in the cost of my mercy that you might believe.”
This is what Divine Mercy looks like. It does not hide the wounds of love but glories in them, for they are the vehicle of our salvation.
We should not be filled with shame if there are times when we do not believe. Many of the twelve did not. We should also not sentimentalize the wounds of Christ, overlooking the cost that came with them. God died. There is no sentimental value in knowing that the author of life died because of sin. It’s quite horrifying.
But those wounds are our glory. We must allow Christ to plunge us into their very depths that we might first come to know their cost and then allow them to bring about a new life within our souls.
Divine Mercy is what this whole lot is about. It’s what we hope for, it’s what we immerse ourselves in. Without it, we’re lost, damned. Let’s not turn away from it because we are ashamed. Let us allow Jesus to grab out wrist and shove our hands into his side that we might allow the eternal blood and water to wash over us.
Jesus, I trust in You!