A Blessed Divine Mercy Sunday to my brothers around the world. Today’s Gospel reading from John has numerous lessons for the faithful. The forgiveness and retention of sins, the appearance of Christ, peace. Most importantly there is a message of trust and belief.
The story of Thomas, not being able to believe his brother apostles that Christ had returned and was walking among them, reminds me of the miracle healing of the woman who strained to get through the crowds to merely touch the fringes of his cloak so that she may be healed (Luke 8:46). What could Thomas and the woman have in common? The fact that they were able to get close enough to Jesus to touch him. The faith that the woman must have had, that she knew that merely touching the tassel on the cloak of this Jesus of Nazareth that she would be healed. The response from Thomas, “My Lord and My God!”
For Thomas, it was the opposite, he could not believe it until he touched the wounds of Christ. You could say that both Thomas and the woman were healed, hers a physical ailment, and Thomas suffered from a spiritual ailment. In 2014 at a general audience, Pope Francis discussed the Sacrament of Confession – a necessary healing sacrament for all the faithful. Pope Francis said:
I go to confession to be healed; to heal my soul, to heal my heart, and to heal my mind. When is the last time you have gone to confession? Only answer in your heart, has it been two days, two weeks, two years, twenty years? If too much time has passed, do not delay another day. Be courageous and go to confession.
The virtuous man goes to confession regularly, it not only heals but strengthens our fortitude.
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.
Christ reminds Thomas that seeing and believing are two different things. Welcoming Thomas came with a chastisement for needing to touch and believe. Why the two different messages? Thomas’s touch came with a chastisement, the woman needing to be healed was celebrated for her faith and touch. When Christ performed miracles, they were intimate encounters. He embraced lepers, he used spittle to restore sight. But it was not the touch that healed, and Christ was always quick to tell people that.
Amen, I say to you, your faith has healed you.
The amazing sacrifice that has been made on our behalf at Calvary ensures that we can and will be healed. There is only one thing that stands between us and that forgiveness. Humility required to meet Jesus face-to-face and ask him to heal us. It isn’t a lose theological concept, it isn’t an idea or constructs by men – in every miracle that Jesus performed, there was a humble ask of Christ to heal the person.
Christ is not a foreign concept for the virtuous man. He did not leave or abandon us at the Ascension – but remains with us, very much accessible. We can spend time in His presence during Adoration. There are many parishes throughout the world that offer perpetual Adoration Chapels, or Holy Hours. Encourage your brothers to take up an hour, and spend that time with the Lord.
The Buffalo Grand established a monthly Holy Hour on the first Saturday of the month to gather like-minded men to pray for peace, unity, and an increase in our noble and holy order. The popularity of the Holy Hour is gaining steam, to the point where the Knights of Columbus and Knights of the Holy Sepulchre will be invited to join as well. Do you know someone who needs to experience an hour with the Lord?
I recently invited someone that I knew was struggling with some major life decisions. I encouraged her to join us at a Holy Hour. As she left the church, her only response to me was that she felt her anxiety melting away. The power of meeting Jesus Christ face-to-face.
It is not just in Adoration that we can come to Christ face-to-face and ask for him to heal our heart, mind, and soul. Regular participation in the Sacrament of Confession can relieve us of many ailments of the soul.
On this Divine Mercy Sunday, in the year of Our Lord 2021, men of the Knights of St. John can set an example to others, by embracing the mercy that flows from the heart of Jesus.
+For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world.
As we conclude the Octave of Easter, may the Risen Lord continue to bless and keep you, as we continue to celebrate as an Easter people, in anticipation of the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.