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Jn 20: 19-31

Easter – 2nd Sunday

When I was preparing a couple for marriage, the groom admitted that there was a difficulty. Though he was Catholic, he couldn’t say that he really believed or would follow what the Church teaches. He was a graduate of a state university and he thought that the church celebrations did not inspire him much. He found homilies boring and stupid. He thought he could do better than the priest.

Today we live in a very challenging religious environment. Even in the Philippines you cannot anymore presume that the one you’re talking to is Catholic. The religious landscape is so varied and rich that there are many Christian groups and non-Christian groups around. Even among baptized Catholics, not all are believers. Many don’t have a grasp of the faith. Many are drifting away from the faith.

This is a result of the growing influence of secularism and modernity, a tide we cannot overturn. People are seeking for answers and are satisfied by the answers given them by science and reason. They have excellent education, even from Catholic schools, but this education has no connection to faith and life. At home, parents are unable to bring up their children as disciples of the Lord. Some have even passed on to their children their own doubts and fears.

When the gospel refers to Thomas, we know that these are the modern Thomases of the world. Add to these those who do not believe because it is difficult to believe in God if your are a victim of evil, injustice or tragedy. Young people who cannot find love at home; spouses who are destroyed by abuse and deception; good people who have to suffer from the hands of evil men.

We find these Thomases around us, but also within our families. When we do, we are sad that our family members don’t share our enthusiasm and devotion. But there is also a Thomas within our hearts, for we too are full of questions.

Today, as we celebrate Easter and Mercy Sunday, in particular, Jesus is reminding us that God’s mercy extends to everyone, but especially to Thomas – with all his doubts, questions and fears. Thus, Jesus speaks to those who do not believe, to those who struggle to believe and to us who are struggling in faith.

I invited the man I was preparing for marriage to expose himself to the peace of Christ. I invited him to confession and to the Eucharist. When he said yes, he was filled with joy and peace that was still evident when I saw him many years after in a baptism I celebrated. The words of the risen Christ are words of mercy – Peace be with you…your sins are forgiven.

Let us pray for those who honestly seek the Lord but fail to find him. Let us pray for ourselves that we may find the Lord in our personal quests and struggles. May the mercy of God find us today and grant us peace.