Saturday, April 11, 2015

Not Seen and Have Believed

Originally published on April 15, 2012
Sunday of Divine Mercy

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.
 Acts 4:32-35

For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith. Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
 1 John 5:3-5

Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe." Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."
 John 20:27-29

“The Quality of Mercy is not strained. It droppeth like a gentle rain from heaven.” Twice blessed is he who gives. The perfect self-love is to love the other as yourself. The paradox of mercy is that the one who gives receives more than the one who receives. God is Mercy in the gift he gives us of his son and we are his children when we are one with Christ by bringing mercy into our dealing with others. God is everlasting mercy because God is love and the love of God is in his giving all of himself in his son to be all of us when we accept the son as our deepest meaning of life. Indwelling is what the mercy of God brings us. God live in our love for one another. Mercy enkindles our faith. It sets the fire of love going in our hearts. It glows even in its embers as the wonder of life lived to its fullest. The one mind and the one heart of Christ is ours by mercy. The Acts of the Apostles tells us there were no needy persons among the first Christians. The Apostles distributed the gifts received to those who needed them. The early Christians were perfect Christ in the ways they shared what they had with one another so that there were no needy among them.

Our love of God reveals itself in the ways we live the commandments of God. The commandments are the perfect statement of Inter-personal Relationships. If the commandments did not exist and we wanted to be happy we would have had to invent the commandments for ourselves. Love is shown by how we relate to each other. We conquer the world by how we love one another. Force never makes right. In the paradox of Christianity we have to lose our lives in order to save them. There is no shortcut in salvation. The cross of Christ reveals the resurrection. Our victory over the world is found in our love of Christ. We study the dying of Christ to find the road to the resurrection. 

We see the divine mercy of Christ in the wounds of love. Even as Christ shows his hands and his side, we look at the price of love in the way parents and friends and even strangers sacrifice themselves for us. Christ invites his disciples to share in his peace. He gives us the deepest meaning of peace in the security and the safety we find in knowing that every sacrifice of love is worth what it costs us in being a share of the Mercy and the love of God in what we do for one another. We know that the wounds of love are the price of the resurrection. We rejoice in our martyrs who have shed their blood in the name of Christ. We too can rejoice in what it costs us to share the love of Christ by the mercy we offer one another in the name of Christ. Our love makes us one with the love of God for us. Christ sends us out into our world even as the Father has sent Christ. It is up to us by our love to baptize our world into the love of Christ. It is okay that we are misunderstood in the ways we are willing to leave ourselves unprotected. In the mercy we show to those who would have hurt us, Divine Mercy is seen. The Mercy of the Lord flows out of the heart that was pierced on the Cross. We are blessed even when we do not see how Christ is in the mercy we have for one another. “Blessed are those who have not seen the risen Christ and share mercy in his name.”

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