It is fitting that on this second Sunday of Easter, decreed in 2000 by Pope John Paul II to be Divine Mercy Sunday, that the readings provide a biblical blueprint of how divine mercy and grace would spread in the months and years immediately following the Resurrection.
During the Easter season, leading up to the great Feast of Pentecost, readings from the Acts of the Apostles take the place of Old Testament readings. In this way the connection between “all that Jesus did and taught” (Acts 1:1) and all that the apostles did and taught can be clearly seen and reflected upon. The Evangelist Luke portrayed Jesus as The Prophet who would do great signs and wonders (the greatest being His death and resurrection) and in the Acts of the Apostles he depicted the early Christians—especially the apostles Peter and Paul—as doing “many signs and wonders among the people” (Acts 5:12).
The blueprint of mercy can be summed up in four words: preparation, proclamation, perseverance, and purpose.
The preparation began during the ministry of Jesus, as He spent countless hours, days, and months with His disciples, teaching them by both word and example. Christ’s Passion and the Resurrection took that preparation to a place the disciples could barely begin to fathom prior to those dramatic events. Today’s Gospel reading highlights, in the well-known story of doubting Thomas, that the process of preparation was not a quick or easy one. As the disciples hid behind closed doors, they were often filled with fear and confusion. But the appearance of the Risen Christ in their midst was a source of peace and joy. And so they received their instructions: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Then, later, in response to Thomas’s famous cry—“My Lord and my God!”—Jesus further prepared the disciples for their divine mission by pointing them toward the many souls in need of the Gospel: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Read more at Catholic World Report.