Divine Mercy Sunday


“It is difficult to forgive,” writes Father Hawkswell. “However, it can be equally difficult to accept forgiveness – from others or from God. It takes humility.” (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
Bloom Chama Chua Cummins Fleming Hawkswell Holsington
Kavanaugh Lane Langeh Lawrence McKinnon Pavone Pellegrino
Powell Schuster Senior Smiga Terra Turner Wester

Featured Homilies


Seeing the Change in Us


We should hesitate before we criticize Thomas.  Thomas, of course, is the disciple who has been remembered as the one who doubted.  Therefore, it is easy to look down on Thomas and criticize him because at first he did not believe in Jesus’ resurrection.  But before we begin that critique, it would be good for us to recognize that Thomas is the disciple who is most like us.  You see, the other disciples all believed because they saw the Lord.  They saw his risen glory.  But Thomas was asked to believe, not because he saw, but only because he heard the testimony of the other disciples.  “We have seen the Lord,” they said to him.  That is our situation.  We have not seen the risen Lord.  Our faith is founded on the witness of others, the testimony that comes from others who also believe.  So since we are, as it were, standing in the shoes of Thomas, perhaps we be more sympathetic and ask:  What was the problem?  Why did he fail to believe?



The Two Minds of Thomas

by Deacon Jerome Buhman| 2022
Homiletic & Pastoral Review

Thomas evidently was a twin — so who was Thomas’ twin? 

Why would Thomas, known as Doubting Thomas, be called a twin? He really could be a physical twin or . . . the answer could lie in the word “doubt.” You see, doubt means to be uncertain about two choices or, even more literally, it means “to be of two minds.” So, Thomas was of two minds — one might say he was a twin within himself — and on more levels than one, for he had more than one choice to make in the days following Jesus’ Passion and Resurrection. To help distinguish the respective inner conflicts Thomas went through, I’ll be referring to Thomas A and Thomas B. And each of these Thomases has a choice in today’s Gospel. Let’s start with Thomas A.


Doubt No Longer

| 2019
Dominican Friars of England & Wales, Scotland

“The gift of faith more than makes up for what is lacking in our nature.”- St. Thomas Aquinas

For some people, no amount of evidence would ever convince them to believe in God and in Jesus’ resurrection, but in today’s Gospel, we don’t hear of the obstinate disbelief of a cynical atheist, but of someone who is struggling. The disbelief of the apostle St Thomas reflects the doubts of someone who would very much like to believe in Jesus’ resurrection, but he just finds it too astonishing to accept.

Now St. Thomas’ struggle to believe in Jesus’ resurrection is an opportunity for us to reflect on our own struggles as well…


A Night of Gift-Giving

| 2003

Like Thomas, let us say to the Risen Christ, “My lord and my God!”

With Easter Sunday, the Church begins the Easter Season which ends on Pentecost Sunday. Like a delicious food which we enjoy more thoroughly when we chew it slowly, the Church has allocated 50 days to enable us to reflect and “chew” on the Easter–event and the other events that followed it.

When the disciples gathered together on the first Easter evening, the doors were locked (Jn. 20:19-31). The reason given was their “fear of the Jews.” But one scripture commentator has opined that there was another reason — their fear of Jesus. Recall that when Jesus was arrested, all of them deserted Him. Recall, too, that when they were told that Jesus had risen early that morning, except for the “beloved disciple,” they did not believe. They feared that if Jesus really rose from the dead, He would confront them with their desertion and unbelief. They must have breathed a sigh of relief when Jesus said on His first appearance to them, “Peace be with you.” Everything was forgiven.


Two-Step Program

HomiliesST. MARY OF THE VALLEY | 2013

Bottom line: Jesus invites us to not be unbelieving, but to believe and to touch his wounds – the wounds of his mystical body, our hurting Church.

The first step is what Jesus says to Thomas, “Do not be unbelieving, but believe”. You might say: Well, I would believe if Jesus appeared to me and showed me his wounds. OK, but has God not given you reason to believe? For sure, there are always reasons to doubt, but Jesus’ words indicate that belief involves an element of decision. Jesus tell Thomas, “Do not be unbelieving, but believe”. Even after dramatic evidence, Thomas still has to make a choice…

The second [step] is more nitty gritty: to touch Jesus’ Body. That’s what Jesus invites Thomas to do – to touch his wounds. Many people shrink from this. It’s one thing to believe – especially intellectually. It’s something else to touch his body.

RELATED HOMILIES | 2022 Homilies


What Does it Mean to Doubt?



On the map of human experience, doubt is a place somewhere between belief and disbelief. Doubt lives in a heart unable or unwilling to accept something proposed as true, real, something to be believed — as when “Doubting Thomas” told the other apostles, “I will not believe” what you have told me.

If the opposite of doubt is trust, belief, and a certain confidence that binds the believer to commitment, then doubt is that holdout between belief and disbelief that gives way to uncertainty and mistrust, to an isolation detaching the doubter from the bonds believing offers.

It’s important to distinguish here between doubt and inquiry, between doubt and seeking understanding, between doubt and the pursuit of truth. It’s one thing to seek to understand one’s faith better and more deeply: to ask questions, to probe and to test. It’s another thing to reject what one has come to know and believe or worse, to be suspect of proposed truth simply for the sake of being suspect.



Healing the Wounds through Forgiveness



I dislike wearing short khakis. To be honest, I find it embarrassing, not because I’m prudish but because I have ugly scars from a previous motorcycle accident stretching the entire length of the shin on both legs. I guess we all have scars, from the unstitched nicks of childhood to crooked or misshapen noses, to long gouges left on our chests from bypass surgery. Then there are the countless inner wounds; the grief that never quite heals, wrongs done to us or by us that can never be righted, memories that cannot be erased, hurtful words or betrayals that seem to have a direct line to our tear ducts or the recurrent knot in our stomach. Some scars are readily visible; others remain hidden, whether from embarrassment or reticence. A friend once told me that his “tears roll on the inside.” You can’t get through life without scars, inside or outside.



Doubts and Faith



On this Second Sunday of Easter, we hear the Gospel of Doubting Thomas. That is because the event described takes place the Sunday after the Resurrection of the Lord. This Gospel leads me pondering two main questions: “Why do we have doubts?” and, “Why do we have faith?” I know that doubting is part of being a human being, but I am still shocked when I read that not only did the disciples doubt the Lord during His ministry on earth and during His Passion, they even doubted Him after the Resurrection. And it was not just Thomas. Look at Matthew 28:16-20. As the disciples gathered on the Mount of the Ascension, Jesus appeared again to them, but, the scripture says, “some still doubted.” Why did they doubt? Here they had the Resurrected Lord right in front of them. That was more than Thomas had when the other disciples told him that they had seen the Lord. Perhaps, some of the disciples on that mountain wondered if this really was a ghost, or a strange phenomenon. Most probably, their doubts were simply part of being human beings. We are always going to have doubts until we see God face to face.



Christ Invites East of Us to His Sacred Heart

HomiliesYEAR C HOMILIES | 2008

Christ’s Sacred Heart which raised up Thomas from despair to faith is ready to raise up each of us from any despair we may have to Christian hope. Christ invites each of us, “bring your hand and put it into my side” (John 20:27) Christ invites each of us to draw near his Sacred Heart, to allow our hearts become hearts of love. As we look on Christ’s Sacred Heart we see that Christ’s love forgives us, heals us and restores us. The physical wound in Christ’s side is only the gateway to the love of Jesus’ Sacred Heart. In Christ’s Sacred Heart we see the love of Jesus for us and we respond, “My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28)



It’s Up to Us to Accept God’s Unlimited Mercy



This Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday. We all need God’s mercy. “If we say, ‘We are free of the guilt of sin,’ we deceive ourselves,” St. John said.

Aren’t guilt feelings psychologically unhealthy?

No; not if we have really done wrong.

Isn’t it enough to give to charity and avoid stealing, murdering, committing adultery, etc.?

No, says St. John Henry Newman. Such people “walk by their own light, not by the true Light.” They settle for a standard they can easily keep: what satisfies the world rather than God.


Oh Yes, Lord, I Believe!


Doubting Thomas that’s the label we stick on those doubt when we tell them something. Incredulity is what we associate Thomas with. On this 2nd Sunday of Easter we meet Thomas again; but isn’t there something more he can offer us?…

What I want to retain from the Gospel of this Sunday, among other things, is not as such the disbelieving Thomas, but rather the process through which the disciples, Thomas included, finally come to make this encounter with the risen Lord despite the initial doubts. It’s a process of growth in faith which is equally ours. When Jesus comes the first time Thomas is absent and he doesn’t believe when later the others tell him: “We have seen the Lord.” He responds: “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” Such apparent disbelief makes us, unfortunately, pass by the beautiful confession of faith of Thomas.


The “New Space” of Easter


Easter creates a new space and a new moment of encounter.  No longer are we left abandoned (orphans) in the losses and sorrow of life.  The Lord is risen!  God abandons no one and neither is God resigned to accept death and lose as the final answer.  The risen Lord comes to his friends hiding behind the locked doors of fear, resignation and sorrow.  The risen Lord shows them his wounds and by so doing heals their wounds and gives a peace that the world cannot give.  It is only though the resurrection that the very wounds and losses of life become places of encounter rather than abandonment.  This is the new space and the new moment of encounter created by Easter.  We can now meet God in our wounds because God has become wounded and even accepted death for our sake.  And God has overcome death!  “Peace be with you,” says the risen Lord to his disciples in today’s gospel (Jn. 20:19-31).  When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.



HomiliesSUNDAY WEB SITE | 1997

As the Father sent me, so I send you.” (Jn 20:21)

Everywhere the apostles went after the resurrection, they seem to have carried the message, “Peace be with you.” Despite resistance to their proclamation of the Messiah, they found new power to work signs and wonders. The sick were cured, the troubled were healed.

The events of Christ’s Passion, death, and Resurrection were the sign of his undying ascendancy over every threat of worldly dominion. Revelation’s rhapsody played through their zeal. “Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever.”

We are led by the Gospels’ resurrection accounts to think that such confidence was not there from the start. The followers of Jesus, despite the reports of his rising, were locked in a hidden enclave, struck with fear.


The Church Community as the Central Place for God’s Mercy


Claret Media Cameroon

Our Church Community remains the cadre in which this mercy of God is nurtured, catered for and is dispensed to all. As members of one family and community, the Church, may we implore at all times the Mercy of God for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. May Mary, Mother of Mercy and Saint Faustina help us to always have trust in Jesus Christ our Redeemer. May we fix our Regard on the Merciful Jesus and repeat with devotion: JESUS I TRUST IN YOU.


Do Not Be Afraid!



Many of us have walked with the Jesus for years and years and have never felt the excitement that these earlier follows felt. On the other hand, many of them also seem not to have been terribly moved at first. Think of Saint Peter or of Saint Thomas, who shows up in the Gospel today. These are people that perhaps we can identify with. Peter who is such an enthusiast and yet denies knowing the Lord. Thomas who uses big words to show that he won’t believe easily and then is embarrassed when Jesus asks him to believe.


My Lord and My God



It looks as though for Thomas, “seeing is believing”. Yet that is not quite true: seeing is seeing. But after seeing, and occasioned by the seeing, Thomas went on to say: My Lord and my God. That was not seeing – that was believing… believing a reality beyond the power of eyes to see, an insight possible only through faith.

Thomas’ insight was more, though, than an insight – It was a relationship. It was trust. It was self-gift in trust. He exclaimed after all:  My Lord and my God! Jesus said to Thomas: You believe because you have seen: that is, we are interacting; we are experiencing a mutual encounter.

Then Jesus went on to say: Blessed are those who do not see and yet believe. But when you no longer see me, and continue to interact in trust and to experience a mutual encounter in love, that will be the fruit of faith.


The Pro-Life Message



Thomas doubted the victory of life over death. Where was he the first Easter night? Scripture does not tell us, except to say that he was not with the other apostles, to whom the Lord appeared. Maybe Thomas was out looking for the Lord! After all, if he was the kind of person who had to “see for himself,” and had heard the announcement from the women that morning that they had seen the Lord on the road, maybe he thought that he could go out on the same road and find him! But that was a mistake, because Thomas separated himself from the community of believers gathered around Peter. And he missed the Lord.



WARNING: “Peace Be with You!”


On this second Sunday of Easter, celebrating the Divine Mercy of God, we are asked to brave a closer look at fear, an eyes-wide-open stare at what it means for a follower of Christ to live dreadfully, panicked. Just look at the disciples who lock themselves away, afraid of the Jewish leaders. Look at the Jewish leaders who chase and threaten, afraid of the disciples and their teacher. Look at Thomas, fearful of disappointment and despair, he denies the resurrected Christ, “I will not believe.” Look at us. . .are we afraid? Are you afraid? The Psalmist this morning-evening sings, “I was hard pressed and was falling. . .” Peter must remind his brothers and sisters, in the midst of their “various trials,” that their inheritance in Christ is “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading…” Jesus appears among his friends, with them behind their locked door, and he must say to them, “Peace be with you.” He breathes the Holy Spirit on them, charging his friends to go out and preach. He shows them that security is not the Christian answer to fear. It is his peace that trumps our fear, and our commission from Jesus himself—“I send you as the Father has sent me”—this commission is the source of our peace. No.


Saint Thomas, Saint Martin and Saint Faustina


Legend has it that a very holy 4th century saint, St. Martin of Tours, had an experience of seeing what looked to be the Risen Lord appearing before him. The vision of the Lord was of course beautiful. Jesus’ vestments were splendid and he wore an extravagant crown. St. Martin wasn’t convinced however. He was able to correctly know that the vision of what he was seeing was not the Lord at all but a demon disguised as the Lord. When the demon asked how he saw through his disguise, St. Martin essentially responded, “You have no wounds. The Risen Lord has wounds.” This is a remarkable insight and a great way of approaching this Gospel reading today because when Jesus appears before the eleven and what do we find? The Risen Lord has wounds, glorified wounds. Wounds that no longer hurt, but rather have become a source of strength, able to forgive the sins of the world!


Corruption: Being Spiritually Blind



No one likes or admires a person who lives a double life. People who live double lives present only one side of themselves to us. This side usually makes a favorable impression upon others. However, there is that other side of them that completely contradicts who we think they are. They hide that side of themselves, because they know we would see them for who they truly are. Thus, they would lose our approval – and, probably, our friendship. If we are honest, most of us would admit that there are things for which we are ashamed – especially in our past. This is because we are all sinful and have made selfish mistakes. Hopefully, however, we have repented of these sins. There came a time when we rejected those things which were harmful to our life as Christians.


A God who Breaks through Walls



This gospel portrays a God who desperately wants to break through the walls that we set up for him. Those walls could be the prejudice we feel toward people who think or look different from us, or a determination to have God act the way we mapped out for him. Just as we may exclude someone who does not support the way we think, we may be excluding God as well. But John depicts a God who wants to break in, who stands inside the room with us, if only we would lift our eyes and see, lift our fingers and touch. It’s an act of humility to see another person in a different light or to change the plans we thought were best. But when we do, like Thomas, we just might have a new encounter with Christ.


Being Set Free in Love by Jesus Allows Us to Bear Great Fruit

HomiliesST. LOUIS REVIEW | 2022

Many people who hear the Gospel reading for Divine Mercy Sunday only remember the role of Thomas. We hear of his refusal to believe unless he sees Jesus and touches His wounds. The part that is often forgotten is that Jesus had to go through locked doors to get the rest of His apostles and disciples. The whole group had locked the doors for fear that what happened to Jesus might happen to them as well. Thomas and the rest of the group had failed to believe the promises that Jesus had made, and they had begun to live in fear. None of them believed until they had experienced the presence of Jesus after His death and resurrection. Thomas wasn’t the only one who didn’t believe, he just continued to disbelieve even though others shared their testimony with him.
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In the Crypt Church at the Basilica of the National Shrine: Celebrant & Homilist: Rev. Richard Mullins Guest Choir: St. Mary Parish, Rockville, MD

“My Lord and My God”

This Sunday’s Homily Archive

The Gospel of John is read during the Easter season in all three years.

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