'The tremendous mercy of God, poured out for us' Print
Bishop Morlino's Column
Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009 -- 12:00 AM

Dear Friends,

morlino column logoThis past Sunday we celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday, which, as you know, is a joyous celebration for us on the Second Sunday of Easter to consider the tremendous mercy of God, poured out for us. And so, I think, I would like to draw upon my homily for this past Sunday and to reflect upon the Gospel we read. I should also note, however, that this past Sunday we also celebrated the fourth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s election as the Successor of St. Peter, and this week we’ll celebrate the anniversary of his installation. So, let’s keep our Holy Father especially in prayer this week.

‘Peace be with you!’

The first point is this: one of the greatest privileges I have as a bishop — and I never take it for granted — is to say to you, in the words of the Risen Christ, “Peace be with you!” When a bishop begins a Mass, instead of saying, “The Lord be with you!” we are granted the privilege of saying, “Peace be with you!” I never take that for granted, and, in fact, I usually get chills when I say it, because it was the greeting of the Risen Christ to His brothers. It’s a big deal.

But, what did it mean when Jesus said those words? It’s interesting, as reported by St. John, that he said, “Peace be with you,” and then Jesus showed them His hands and His side. Jesus showed the disciples His glorified wounds. And that is why we can have Peace at all!

We all have troubles in our lives. Everybody has worries, everybody has problems, and everybody has failures. Everybody has sins. There is a lot of trouble in the world, and there are a lot of wounds. But when Jesus says, “peace be with you,” He shows His own glorified wounds, and that is an assurance to us that our wounds are real, but they are destined to be glorified.

So, when Jesus says, “Peace be with you!” and when the bishop says, “Peace be with you!” that peace is a real possibility because there always can be great hope that no matter what troubles we have in life, no matter what wounds are there, those wounds are destined to be glorified. And that is what I think about every time I say, “Peace be with you.” It’s a real privilege for me and it’s a real possibility for you. Don’t ever think that it isn’t.

Forgiveness of sin

Secondly, Jesus says, “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive are forgiven.” Right after the Resurrection and at the Last Supper, Jesus was focused on mercy. And this is why we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday in the midst of the Easter Season. Jesus’ body was broken and His blood was poured out so that sins might be forgiven, so that there might be mercy. And, right after the Resurrection, He says to the Apostles, “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive they are forgiven, whose sins you retain, they are retained.” The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is all about mercy for us. And there could not be a better time to celebrate the mercy of Jesus Christ than during the Octave of Easter.

Trusting the word of the Lord

The third point is an interesting point about St. Thomas the Apostle. Jesus says to Thomas, “Take you finger, put it into the nail mark of my hands. Take your hand, put it into my side and do not be an unbeliever, become a believer.” St. John, in his Gospel account, does not tell us that Thomas did that. John tells us that Thomas responded, “My Lord and my God!” It would seem that when Thomas heard the word of Jesus, he didn’t need to put his finger into the nail marks of the hand and to put his hand into the side. All he needed was to hear the word of Jesus and he could respond, “My Lord and my God!”

We should never take the word of the Lord for granted. We don’t need scientific proof of things (let me put my finger here and let me put my hand in here, to examine). The word of Jesus is enough. And, I think sometimes we forget how blessed we are to come to Mass and hear the word of Jesus and to be able to say, with Thomas, “My Lord and my God.”

So, perhaps we can take some time to consider whether we ever take the word of the Lord for granted. It meant everything to Thomas. It enabled him to make the most powerful act of faith, “My Lord and my God.” And if it can do that for Thomas, it can do that for you and me. As we move from the Octave of Easter, let us take the time to ponder that. What the word of Jesus did for Thomas, it can do for you and me if we open our hearts.

Thank you for reading this. Continued Easter blessings on you and all your loved ones.

Praised be Jesus Christ! Alleluia!