"Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
As we continue this difficult journey of living with the threat of the Coronavirus pandemic, we do so celebrating with Easter joy the Resurrection of the Lord! The scriptures that we hear at the televised or streaming masses that have become our "new normal" continue to speak to us and resonate with the experience through which we are now living.
This Sunday's gospel is a perfect example. Think about it - the apostles are locked inside a room; it would be dangerous for them to go outside. They're afraid, they're confused. The risen Jesus appears to them and assures them he is still with them. But it is Thomas who expresses the yearning and frustration of wanting to see Jesus. "Unless I see", Thomas says, "I will not believe."
Like us today, Thomas yearns for the physical experience of the encounter with Jesus, that physical touch. The people of God today yearn for that very physical experience of being in church and receiving the Lord's real presence in the Eucharist that is unavailable because of the precautions we must continue to take to keep each other safe and healthy.
But Jesus tells Thomas, and he tells us, that that's precisely when our faith should be strong - "Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." Blessed are we who, though we don't have the physical elements of bread and wine and are deprived even of being able to give each other the sign of peace - blessed are we who still believe that the Lord is with us.
This weekend we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, in which we celebrate the love of God that emanates from the merciful heart of Jesus, even through any locked doors and quarantines. As we pray for the many lives that have been taken by the Coronavirus, and for those who are ill and suffering, and we give thanks for those who continue to serve on the front lines of this battle, let us believe. Let us believe in the Divine Mercy of God; let us believe in the power of the Risen Lord; let us believe that the Holy Spirit will strengthen us and build us up in our homes, the domestic church. And let us believe that we will soon be gathered again in our churches, where Christ will show us not only his hands and his feet, but his loving and merciful heart as well.
And let us say together the prayer of the Divine Mercy:
"Jesus, I trust in you!"