Divine Mercy Sunday


+ Pax et Bonum!  Peace and goodness to you this day!

A couple of weeks ago I was hanging out in the church narthex after Mass, visiting with people, and out of the corner of my eye, I caught one of our eighth grade boys, helping out one of our more senior members of the Parish, who was walking out of church to go to her car.  She was walking with a cane, and was carrying her purse, and some sort of other kind of book bag, or something.  She had her hands full.  And this young man was on it.  He went right up, he held the door, he carried one of the bags, and then he helped her out to her car.  I gotta tell ya, I was pretty impressed.  I don’t think he was doing it to impress anyone, in fact, I don’t think his parents even saw him do it.  He did it because the lady needed a helping hand.  But on the inside, I was like, YES!  He’s got it.  He understands what this is all about.  Now, being in Jr. High is not an easy time in life.  If you ask most people, what are two of the worst years of their life, most people will tell you, Jr. High.  You’re not an adult, and you’re not really a kid anymore either.  Did you know that in Jr. High, a person’s bones can grow an inch in just one week?  Think of the ramifications of that, when you go to pick up your glass of milk, and just a few days later, your arm is an inch longer than you thought it was, and you end up knocking over the glass of milk.  Life is more than a little awkward when you’re in Jr. High school.  It’s just not much fun.  Because of this, our seventh and eighth graders all hold a very special place in my heart.

So when this little encounter was all done, I want to say something to the young man.  It really was nice to see him care enough to help the lady out.  And I wanted to thank him for caring, and let him know that I noticed his act of kindness, and that it was a good thing.  Well, I didn’t see him come back into church.   That week, I thought about calling him, and thanking him on the phone.  And then I thought I’d just say something the next time I got the chance.  But it bothered me, that I didn’t take the opportunity to let that young man know, how powerful his action was!  I had blown it.  As his Pastor, his priest, I should have said something to reinforce his good actions.  I regretted that I hadn’t done something or said something.

Two weeks later, after the same Mass, I see the same eighth grade student, helping out one of our younger students in a wheelchair.  He helped get the younger girl out of church and into her family’s van.  This time, I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity!  I went right up to the young man, shook his hand, and thanked him for caring and for helping out.  He was very embarrassed I think, and probably wished that I didn’t notice it, and now of course, I’m telling this story in a homily.  I didn’t tell him that I had seen him help the woman two-weeks earlier.  I was afraid that he would think that I am stalking him.  But I figured that God had given me a second chance, and the second time around, I was going to make sure that I thanked that young man.

Today, on this Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, we hear the story of St. Thomas.  And just like myself, St. Thomas is given a second chance to see the wounds of Christ and to come to belief.  A week later, the second time, it works! St. Thomas probes the nail holes and the wound in Christ’s side, and he DOES believe.  The second chance worked!

My brothers and sisters, we don’t always get a second chance.  Sometimes, we have to take advantage of the first opportunity, the first chance!  We pray today, that all of us, would always be ready for the Risen Christ, and be ready to say “yes” to whatever He asks us to do.  We don’t know that we’ll get a second chance.  What if Jesus hadn’t shown up a week later and had not encountered Thomas?   That’s why we all have to be better at taking advantage of our FIRST opportunities!  Don’t wait.  Do it!  Say it!  Write it!  Make it happen now!  Tomorrow may be too late.

And when we do miss opportunities, well that’s when we have to trust in Jesus’ Divine Mercy.  God’s mercy saves us all.   And without it, none of us are going to get too far.

Take the hint.  Follow the call.  Do what the Holy Spirit is inspiring you to do!  Put your finger in the nail hole!  Get out of comfort zone!  Make the effort!  It will always pay off, even when you’re in Jr. High!

+  May God bless us today on Divine Mercy Sunday,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…            AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…     Pray for us !!!