April 7, 2013

The Gospel for Today

Second Sunday of Easter or Sunday of Divine Mercy

Jn. 20: 19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

Reflection (Sem. Jake Rovillos)

“Believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, so that in believing, you may have life in His name.” In today’s Gospel, almost all commentaries focus on Jesus as the Prince of Peace and Thomas, the disciple, commonly called “Doubting Thomas”. What has caught my attention in the Gospel is the last sentence which connotes our salvation.

It is everybody’s desire to have eternal life. We have different methods on the way we are going to with Christ. Some sects claim that joining them is an assurance that you will be saved. But our Gospel today explicitly tells us that through our faith we will be saved. We don’t need a compound equation or complex formula to come up with salvation. Just a simple formula: Believe that Jesus is the Messiah.

How are we in our faith? A survey conducted by a prestigious University in Boston says that 99% of the Filipino people believe in God and we topped in the survey as the most religious people in the whole world. This is not surprising because it’s only us Filipinos who practice many popular devotions. Devotion to the Black Nazarene in Quiapo is one. During its festivities, millions of people flock to Quiapo Church.

However, the findings of the study conducted by the World Bank are pitted against the survey of that university. The finding was, our country is one of the most corrupt in the whole world. My limited mind can hardly understand the real picture of who we are. We are faithful Christians but corrupt citizens.

Reality-wise, it is not a question of faith; instead it is how we live out our faith. That’s the challenge of the last line of the today’s Gospel, just believe in Jesus; be faithful to Him and not to money, power, and fame. When Jesus was tempted in the desert, the Evil one offered power, riches, and fame, but Jesus remained faithful to God. The challenge of the Gospel is to stand firm in our faith and let’s renew the face of the earth; a world that God originally created for.

 

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