April 11, 2021
Thomas, like us, struggles to believe because of all the evil he has experienced. Jesus reveals that the terrible darkness has become the path to the Resurrection, and the victory of Mercy. He calls for our cooperation: to trust in Him, to believe without seeing.
- Fear and loss of trust in Jesus through doubt and loss of faith intensifies anxiety, sadness, anger, division and separates us from God which is Satan’s plan for humanity.
- Each year, Jesus has us relieve the Paschal Mystery, or passage, from humiliation, suffering and death to resurrection, triumph and glory of His mercy.
- God turned the triumph of evil into the triumph of His mercy.
- We share the redemptive suffering of Jesus Christ to save souls and bring about the transformation of our world from darkness to light.
- God has designs for the salvation of His children. There is nothing so dark that God’s light cannot conquer it.
- The Feast of Divine Mercy encompasses unfathomable mercy and graces poured out to poor sinners so their sins and the punishment of sins are forgiven.
- Very simple, clear and practical directions to fighting the battle of evil is in His outpouring Mercy through our trust in Him. TRUST JESUS.
The Paschal Mystery that we’ve just been celebrating these last weeks is like a map. We’re sharing the death of Jesus, but St. Paul says, if we share His death, we shall share His resurrection. If we follow Him into that dark, difficult passage, we will follow Him into His resurrection, that what we’re going through today is part of us, as members of His Church, sharing the redemptive suffering of Jesus.
In these confusing times, we need to trust Jesus. Believing, that is what Jesus is asking, believing, faith and trust. In the Diary of Saint Faustina, over and over, Jesus insists on the importance of trust, that He wants to give His mercy. But He can only give it in the measure of our trust. If we have a little trust, He can only give a little, but if you have great trust, He can give great mercy.
“Thomas said to them, unless I see the mark of the nails in His hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into the side, I will not believe.” I will not believe. It’s easy to criticize Thomas but he has just been through so much evil, so much evil in his society, so much evil. Even with the betrayal of one of the Apostles of Jesus, denying Thomas and the others fleeing and that’s maybe one of the worst things, for Thomas is also carrying that evil inside of him, his own weakness, his own sinfulness when Jesus most needed him, that weight of guilt. So Thomas is not able to believe. And I think today there’s a lot of people who are doubting, have lost faith, are struggling to trust, because of all that they see, all that we see going on in our world, and our church around us, even within us. There’s a lot of fear in our society today, a lot of fear. Think about you know, before the COVID stuff began, and how much the level of fear has intensified anxiety, sadness, anger, divisions, how many divisions have been created in this last year? St. John says that the whole world is in the power of the evil one, and we’re experiencing that today. Satan wants to separate us from God. He wants to use fear, to drive us into despair. Thomas and the other apostles had just lived the darkest moment in human history. Why does Jesus each year, why does the Holy Spirit each year want us to re-live the Holy Week and Easter Triduum? Why do we have to do that each year? It’s because what’s called the Paschal Mystery. That sounds complicated, it’s very important. Paschal from the word for Passover, or passage, represents the passage of Jesus from humiliation and suffering and death to resurrection and triumph and glory. And so each year Jesus has us relive the Paschal Mystery. Why? Because Jesus is very practical, and He knows the dangers in the struggles we’re facing. And so the Paschal Mystery that we’ve just been celebrating these last weeks is like a map. Because when we’re in very dark places, where things are very painful, and there’s a lot of evil, a lot of confusion, we get confused, we get discouraged, we begin to lose hope. We don’t know what’s going on, we don’t know what to do. And a lot of people are feeling that today that things are lost, that everything is crumbling. So we need a map, we need someone to show us what to do, where to go, which way to head. And that’s what the Paschal Mystery that we celebrate a Holy Week is showing us. It’s showing us that this dark place that we’re in as a whole world today, in some ways like never before. There’s things going on today, which have never before happened because of the level of technology and the level of evil and the level of confusion. So we need a clear, simple map. And that what Jesus has given us, a map which is showing us that in dark times, what we are supposed to do. Jesus shows how the darkest moment becomes a passage to the resurrection, to glory, to eternal triumph, the triumph of His mercy. That week that the devil had carefully plotted so that this would be the destruction of Jesus plan, the triumph of satan, the triumph of evil, the complete destruction of the Church, which was just beginning. And he thought when Jesus was on the cross that he had won. And Holy Saturday, it still looked, it didn’t look like a Holy Saturday, it looked like the triumph of the devil, and yet it was the triumph of God’s mercy. God turned the triumph of evil into the triumph of God’s mercy. What do you think is happening today? We are called to follow the same path of Jesus, the same map. We are sharing, St. Paul says we are sharing His death. That’s what’s happening right now. We’re sharing the suffering, the agony, the darkness, the death, not just physical death, but all sorts of interior deaths. We’re sharing the death of Jesus, but St. Paul says, if we share His death, we shall share His resurrection. If we follow Him into that dark, difficult passage, we will follow Him into His resurrection, that what we’re going through today is part of us, as members of His Church, sharing the redemptive suffering of Jesus. We today in 2021, and this difficult 2021, are sharing the redemptive suffering of Jesus Christ, suffering with Jesus to save souls, and bring about the transformation of our world, from darkness to light. St. Paul says, “God makes all things work to the good for those who love Him.” All things. And that’s hard to believe. There’s a lot going on today. We say, “How can any good come out of this?” So God proved that to us. He took the worst evil, the killing of our Redeemer, the killing of our God and Savior, and He changed the worst evil from the worst evil, He brought out the greatest good, the salvation of all the children of God. And so that’s a teaching for us, that in the darkness that we see today, God has His design. Satan has his design. Satan is working very intensely today. But deeper than Satan’s designs are God’s designs. There’s nothing so dark that God’s light cannot conquer it. And as we see our world crumble, as we see so much in our country crumble, as we see so much in our Church crumble, God’s work is at work. Remember, Jesus said, “tear down this temple, and I will rebuild it in three days.” The devil is tearing a lot of things down right now and that’s very hard for us to see. But Jesus in an instant, can rebuild it. His work, He is at work in secret and that’s why it was especially for our times right now. That at the beginning of this millennia, 20 years ago, He gave us, it was solemnly declared this great new Feast of the Divine Mercy. So these great revelations of Divine Mercy are for our time right now. Our time which seems so far from God, so far from His plan so far from His mercy. That’s why He gave those revelations for us today. I’ll read you what He said about this feast we’re celebrating today. “My daughter,” He said to Saint Faustina, “tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the feast of mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls. And especially for poor sinners.” All sinners, poor sinners, poor sinners that we are – “on that day, the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls, who approached the font of My mercy.” That’s what we’re here to do today, to approach the font of His mercy. “The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment, complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day, let the divine all the divine floodgates, that which grace flow are open.” All the divine floodgates of grace are opened. “Let no soul fear to draw near to Me. Even though it seems to be as scarlet, My Mercy is so great that no mind be it of man or Angel will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. The Feast of mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter,” which is what we’re doing right now. “Mankind will not have peace, until it turns to the font of My Mercy.” And there are so many experts looking for all sorts of solutions to the problems today, Jesus tells us, the only solution is His mercy. So, in this great battle, and this critical time that we’re living today, what is God asking of us? Because it’s very important to know, what is He asking of us today? He wants to pour out His mercy, it’s necessary. Now, this is a kind of a dry hillside right now, and it’s gonna get even drier this summer. How much would it help to have more water? Well, our humanity is so dry today, spiritually dry like a desert. So what is God asking of us so that His mercy can be poured out? Very simple, because in confusing times, we need something very simple in a battle. You need very simple directions, simple, clear, practical directions. What is He telling us? Trust Jesus, trust Jesus, trust Jesus. The only thing you have to remember from all my ranting this morning is two words. Then after you remember those two words, you can stop listening. Maybe you already did. So the two words are, trust Jesus, trust Jesus. In the Gospel today, Jesus appears, the risen, triumphant, Jesus appears and says to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see My hands, bring your hand and put it in My side. And do not be unbelieving but believe.” Believing, that’s what Jesus is asking, believing, faith, trust. If you’re familiar with the Diary of Saint Faustina, over and over, Jesus insists on the importance of trust, that He wants to give His mercy. But He can only give it in the measure of our trust. If we have a little trust, He can only give a little, but if you have great trust, He can give great mercy. But trust is hard. It was hard for Thomas, it’s hard for us. Jesus says, “Thomas, have you come to believe because you see, blessed are those who do not see, and yet believe.” That’s what Jesus is challenging us and calling us to do today. To believe when we don’t see, to believe when we don’t feel, to believe when we don’t understand, to continue to believe, that’s the heroic trust that Jesus needs of us today. Blessed are those who have not seen, blessed are those who are living maybe darkness and desert, dryness, even agony. Recall our Blessed Mother on Holy Saturday, and yet continuing to hold on, to trust, to believe, to hope. These times, these difficult times we’re going through, are times of formation. God has given us a formation right now. So much is being taken away from us right. So much is being stripped away from us. So much we took for granted has been stripped away. You know even today, we’ve just lived a year without smiles. You know how sad it is to walk into places, you can’t see anybody smile because they’ll have a mask on? So many things, even smiles are being stripped away from us. So much has been stripped away. But God can use all these sacrifices for our formation. In this painful time God is working, to extend our trust, to stretch our trust, to stretch us to greater trust, so that He can give more mercy. These are hard times, He is stretching our trust. And for some of you, I know He’s stretching it to the extreme, it seems like to the breaking point, because God wants to give great mercy through you who have experienced the greatest trials of trust. Trust is hard, but it’s powerful, to overcome fear. The devil wants to control us and manipulate us by fear, so God is teaching us trust. St. John says that the victory over the world is our faith, our faith in Jesus. That’s how we’re going to be victorious by our faith in Jesus. And so St. Thomas fell down in front of the risen Lord and said, “My Lord and my God,” and we today in front of the Blessed Sacrament can say, “My Lord and my God,” Jesus Christ, the Lamb who was slain, the King of kings and Lord of lords, before whom all shall bow down in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, now and forever. There are many confusing, deceptive voices in our society today which are lying to us and deceiving us. We need to listen to Jesus, He is the one we can trust, our Good Shepherd. We need to keep our eyes on Him to anchor our hearts in Him, our everlasting rock. Everything else may crumble and even the persons we were trusting may fall. But Jesus is our everlasting rock, who can permit everything else to fall so that He can rebuild it. He is our hope. So trust does not mean that we don’t do anything. Look at Jesus Christ. He trusted His Father. Does that means He didn’t do anything? No, He was very active. When it was His hidden life, He was doing what His Father told Him to do, which was, it seemed like it wasn’t worth very much just being a carpenter at Nazareth, but He trusted that it was not yet the time for His public ministry, so he did that peacefully. But when the time for His ministry came, He was very active because He trusted His Father. He even abandoned Himself completely on the cross, trusting His Father. His trust in His Father helped Him be courageous and faithful. Trust helps us to be God’s coworkers, He wants our help. And by coworkers, that means we trust Him, we listen to Him, we obey Him, we do what He asked us to do, and the rest we trust in His hands. So trusting in God is not hopelessness, it is a strategy, a surprising strategy. It always surprises satan, but it’s the effective strategy to cooperate for God and win His kingdom. And so one practical help that Jesus gives us today, that all of us can do, is in the image. We have the image of Divine Mercy behind our altar. Jesus said to Saint Faustina, “I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for the graces, for grace is to the fountain of mercy.” That vessel is this image, with a signature, Jesus, I trust in You. “I desire that this image be venerated throughout the whole world.” And so we’re doing it today. “I promise that the soul that will venerate this,” ( listen to what He’s gonna say, because you can do this). You can get an image if you don’t have one, and you can have it in your home and a special place. Listen to what Jesus says to all those who venerate this image. You can venerate the image today, we’ll do it at the end of Mass. “I promise that the soul that will venerate this image, will not perish. I also promise victory over enemies already here on Earth, but especially at the hour of death. I myself will defend it as my own glory.” The world tells us something different. The world says, put up a mirror in your house, and on the mirror write “I trust in you.” And look at the mirror and say I trust in you. Trust in yourself, right? That’s what the world always says, trust in yourself, believe in yourself. Jesus didn’t tell us to get a mirror and put it in our house and say, all who venerate this mirror will be saved. He gave us, this is very simple, very practical. What does that image mean? It means look at Jesus. Look at Jesus. So that’s a simple thing all of us can do. And you don’t have to just get one, you can get a bunch. And every time you look at a image, it’s going to help you to look at Jesus and say, Jesus, I don’t trust in myself, because I’m weak and I’m sinful, and the world is always lying to me. But I trust in You. I trust in You. I trust in You. That’s all that Jesus put on the image. He didn’t put a long description. He put those simple words, “Jesus I trust in You.” So in conclusion, with our Blessed Mother, with Our Lady of Guadalupe, I’m just gonna say a few words in Spanish. (Father says a few words in Spanish) So with our Blessed Mother, let us take the hand of Jesus. Look at him. Trust Him, so that we were not overcome by fear, so that we’re not dominated by fear today and say, with Thomas, “My Lord and my God,” say, “Jesus, I trust in you.” Amen.