“Peace Be with You”. Those were the words that Jesus said when he appeared to his apostles in the upper room though it was locked. They were hiding in fear after his passion was being fulfilled. They feared for his life. Yet, he appeared to them twice.
The first time is to give them the spirit to forgive sins. They would use this spirit to proclaim the God of love and mercy as they go and preach his gospel throughout the world. Only one of them would not be present during that first encounter, Thomas. He would not believe it unless he experiences Jesus himself.
The second time Jesus appears to them. Thomas was with them on this different occasion. Thomas touched the wounds of Jesus and believed what he once doubted. Many would do it for his sake as all but one would become martyrs.
The message of Divine Mercy reaches to those who believe, disbelieve, fallen away, and those who do not know his mercy. As Catholics, we are to carry out the tradition once instill upon the first apostles and disciples of the church.
Through this Sunday’s gospel, we learn of how Christ gives his apostles the power to forgive sins through the institution of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As he states, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
The time for mercy is now. We first by inspire others through our actions to seek the mercy of God and share it with others. Likewise, we learn through the message of Divine Mercy to help our neighbors in their spiritual and material needs by carrying out the works of mercy – both the spiritual ones (instructing, advising, consoling, comforting, forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently) and the corporal (feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, burying the dead, and giving alms to the poor).
Mercy is a beautiful gift that God has given to us. Mercy begins with us if we want his message to reach those who don’t yet know him.