Steeped in Mercy

No gospel account is easier to place myself into the scene than Jesus’ post resurrection appearances to his disciples behind locked doors. The fear in the room is palpable. The discouragement hangs heavy in the air. Then, there is unspoken wonder and awe at the risen Jesus in their midst. No scripture speaks as strongly to me of God’s mercy, not just for his disciples then (including Thomas), but for his disciples in the present time.

A Clue and A Challange

In a homily that I once heard, a wise priest noted that only in Matthew’s gospel are we given the “clue” that Thomas was a twin; the priest reminded us that no detail is unimportant in scripture. He challenged us: “Who is this twin?”

Indeed, the unnamed twin is me! Yes, I can identify with Thomas’ struggle with believing the amazing truth of the bodily resurrection of Jesus.

The world in which we live tells us that “seeing is believing,” but scripture reveals the greater truth that “trusting is believing.”  Thomas’ encounter with the wounds of Christ move him to the fullest affirmation of Jesus as both Lord and God:

“My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28)

Every aspect of this gospel encounter is “steeped in God’s mercy”…

Immersed in the Mercy of God

When Pope Francis instituted a Year of Mercy (2014-2015), he said;

“How much I desire that the year to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God.”

Jesus greeted his disciples with words of mercy, not of condemnation: “Peace be with you.” Though they were not present for him at the crucifixion (except for John), Jesus only wished them peace.

He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” The sacrament of mercy itself was given to them and to us. We are given this sacrament that is “steeped in God’s mercy” to be made whole again when we fall short in our faith and our actions.

“Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Jesus blesses all of us who trust in him without seeing, who believe in him as “my Lord and my God.”

Encounter God’s Love and Mercy

We are blessed that we have the witness of the believing community, a two-thousand-year-old testimony of the people of God.  But it’s not enough that we are just in agreement with the apostles’ testimony; we must also experience the Holy Spirit guiding us to the truth of God’s love and mercy for ourselves.

“The believer has received faith from others and should hand it on to others. Our love for Jesus and our neighbor impels us to speak to others about our faith. Each believer is thus a link in the great chain of believers.”  (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 166)

Thomas proclaimed full faith in Jesus, a faith that ultimately cost him his life. How are we called to proclaim our faith and live our belief in the risen Jesus?  This second Sunday of Easter challenges us to go out to every man and woman, bringing them the goodness and tenderness of God by extending the same mercy we have been shown.

The truth has not changed, and the promise of a personal encounter with Jesus remains as real as it did on the first Easter Sunday. As believers trusting in God’s mercy, we too can proclaim:

“We have seen the Lord.” (John 20: 25)

Jesus, I trust in You!

Debbie Garza is a parishioner of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Leon Springs, and is an experienced Pilgrimage Group Leader with Pilgrim Center of Hope. She has traveled with Pilgrim Center of Hope to the Holy Land, Italy, and Greece. She says, “On pilgrimage, I know the ears and eyes of my heart have been opened by God’s grace and I’ve experienced the Joy of the Gospel. I am committed to helping other pilgrims experience their personal journey of faith.” Debra is also a member of Pilgrim Center of Hope’s Speaker Team.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit

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