Jesus Appears to His Disciples

Sunday Gospel Reflection
Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday)
John 20:19-31 | April 16, 2023

Jesus Appears to His Disciples
Josie Gonzales

“Jesus came and stood among them…‘Peace be with you,’ he said. After saying this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord…He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’

…Thomas said to them, ‘Unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and look at my hands; then reach out your hand and put it in my side. Stop your doubting and believe!’ Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, ‘Do you believe because you see me? How happy are those who believe without seeing me!’

…These are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through your faith in him you may have life.” (John 20:19-31)

“Peace be with you.” This is the essence of John’s Gospel today—a short one-liner of a prayer full of meaning as the resurrected Christ appeared for the first time to His disciples. The disciples were afraid of the Jewish authorities after Jesus’ crucifixion and so they gathered behind locked doors in the same house where they had the Last Supper with Him.

It was late that Sunday of the first week of Christ’s resurrection when Jesus appeared to his disciples saying, “Peace be with you.” It was to assure them of His presence, telling them, “Be at peace…I am with you…do not be afraid”. He showed them his hands and his pierced side, and the disciples were overjoyed upon seeing their Master and Teacher.

Today, “Peace be with you” resonates in the whole of Christendom, during Dass, in our daily prayers, at gatherings of the faithful, at home during our moments with the Lord…a simple prayer telling us God is with us all the time.

Life is not a bed of roses. Walang sinabi ang Diyos na ganito ang buhay sa mundong ginagalawan natin. Ang buhay natin ay puno ng galak at kalungkutan, mayroong ginhawa at hirap. Mayroong namumuhay na malusog at mayroong masakitin, may matalino at may simpleng pagiisip, may mayaman at mahirap, mayroong nakapag-aral at may hindi, mayroong matapang pero mayroon ding matatakutin, mayroong magaling at mayroong nagmamagaling, mayroong traydor tulad ni Hudas, may sinungaling tulad ni Pedro, at mayroon ding mga “doubting Thomas”.

Simply put, life is filled with ups and downs or pluses and minuses. Yes, even today’s Gospel shows us human frailty during Jesus’ time and even before Jesus. We see fear among the disciples, competition—the race to be number ‘one’ or who should be at His right side or left. We smell greed and doubt.

Tayo kaya? Sino tayo?

Si Pedro ba tayo? O si Hudas? O si Tomas kaya?

Nakatuon ba tayo sa mga aral ng Panginoon?

Do we share and give? Or do we take and take and take?

Let us remember that there is nothing in this world that we can take with us when we pass on and move on to the next life. Let’s reflect on this.

I have my own share of good times and bad times. I receive a lot of blessings, some of which, I am sorry to say, I simply ignore or think they are my own merit—forgetting that everything is according to God’s plan. A loving Father, the Lord rewarded me with a trip to the Holy Land and a visit to my eldest son and his family in Canada. The Lord never fails us even during times when we feel so down. I have learned to face my challenges amid fear and anxiety. I lost my job and experienced financial difficulties as a consequence. I have uneasiness complying with a lot of government administrative requirements that are burdensome, but I always remind myself to be aware of His presence. Complete surrender and total ‘letting go’ happens when I open my heart, my mind, my soul, and my spirit to Him who is our Savior. He is the Almighty.

Today is also Divine Mercy Sunday🙏My spiritual guide, Fr. JC, tells me that the feast has nothing to do with today’s Gospel, but was instituted due to the instruction of Jesus on his private revelation to St. Faustina to make the Sunday after Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday. This was made a universal celebration in the Catholic Church during the pontificate of St. John Paul II.

The power and authority to forgive sins was given by Our Lord to the Church through the Apostles. And it’s always available. Truly, HIS mercy endures forever!

Happy Feast Day of Divine Mercy!

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