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The wounds of Christ and the doubt of Thomas

The following homily was preached by the Reverend Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D., for the Second Sunday of Easter/Divine Mercy Sunday [April 8, 2018], at the Church of the Holy Innocents, New York City.

An embarrassment of riches confronts us today as we observe the Octave Day of Easter, Dominca in albis, Divine Mercy Sunday, Low Sunday, Quasimodo Sunday – take your pick – with readings that lead us to such seemingly diverse things as the experience of peace, the means of forgiveness, the wounds of the Risen Christ, the meaning of faith. Believe it or not, they all fit together.

Like Christmas, Easter is one of those feasts the Church just can’t seem to let go of. We’ve been reminded of that liturgically all week by the special inserts into the Roman Canon, the solemn paschal dismissal, the Easter sequence, and the Gloria every day. The joy of Easter is so great, that the Church continues her celebration non-stop for a full week, but the mystery is so great that it really demands such attention. The ancient Hebrews were quite fond of octave feasts, so much so that they developed a special understanding of them: The eighth day symbolized for them, and later for the Fathers of the Church, the endless reign of the Messiah in an eternal Sabbath. And that’s what we commemorate today – an Easter that will never end. Let’s try to plumb the depths of this extraordinary, indeed central, mystery of our faith.

It is interesting to note that this Gospel passage is employed by every rite of the Church on this Sunday, obviously due to its connection to the eighth day since the Resurrection of the Lord of life. As the Risen Christ appears, as if from nowhere on Easter night, He offers the frightened apostolic band the standard greeting of Shalom [Peace]. It was not an empty greeting like “Hello”, for it signified a desire that the other receive the experience of harmony, health, healing, wholeness, union with God and neighbor. But Jesus wanted to make very sure that His Apostles understood the full import of His particular intentions on this night, therefore, He immediately went on to demonstrate that He had even more in mind. And so, He begins by making them His delegates or representatives in conferring such peace on others: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

Read more at Catholic World Report. 

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