Divine Mercy Sunday – 2nd Sunday of Easter
Peace … It’s what most of us want. It has a connection with the gift of mercy. The experience of divine or human mercy means that I have been set free from one more area where I lack peace.
Knowing the gift of mercy in my life allows me to be at peace. I have no need to fear that God has abandoned me, or that God withholds mercy from me.
Peace. It may be expressed as world peace by some people, but most of us are referring to peace in our own lives. Peace in the face of my personal anxiety and worry (such as those things that I obsess about at three in the morning). Peace in the face of my insecurities and doubts (do they like me and appreciate my gifts?).
Peace in the face of my fears for my children or grandchildren (will they be okay in this crazy world?). Peace in the face of the turmoil and storms of life (how am I going to get through this day, let alone this week?). Peace in the waiting for news (what will the medical tests reveal?)
Peace is elusive for most of us. I can read many books on finding peace amidst the storms of life. They certainly help, but most of us find that true peace will only come about as a result of a relationship with God, not from knowledge about God’s gift of peace.
It doesn’t matter how many wonderful books I read. Do I pray? Is there a relationship with the Lord, one that reminds me of my personal goodness and the generosity of a loving God?
I’ve been struck by how often recent popes have spoken about being not afraid or anxious. We also know that the Gospels include many words from Jesus about being set free from anxiety, fears and worries. I am increasingly aware in my ministry of how many of us need that gift of peace.
Today’s excerpt from John’s Gospel uses the phrase, “Peace be with you.” As a matter of fact, the phrase is used three times in the account that includes the story of the doubts of Thomas regarding the Resurrection of Jesus. I wrote a post about Thomas a year or so ago. I used the contemporary notion of FOMO (fear of missing out) as a way to explain Thomas and his questions.
I am unable to locate it right now. But my emphasis was on his experience of missing out on the original encounter with the Risen Lord. Others called it doubt. I don’t think so. He was simply jealous that he missed an important experience that was shared by his friends. They probably spoke over and over about it.
We hear in the reading from Acts 4 that “the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions …” Wow! On both claims.
They were of one heart and soul? No one claimed private ownership? Unity and a true communal sharing? The truth is that we know from the Acts of the Apostles and the letters of Saint Paul that the earliest Christian community set the stage for the disunity and discord that has long marked the church. That lack of unity has been at issue since the beginning of human relationships.
Let’s pray today for the gift of peace, whether it is inner peace for ourselves or outer peace with others.