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Believe

(Acts 5.12-16; Rev 1.9-11a,12-13,17-19; Jn 20.19-31)

When historians come to write about the papacy of Pope Francis I am sure he will be celebrated as the great man of mercy. So many of his writings and preaching are full of this message. He also lived it out, for instance going to the gaol in Rome to wash the feet of criminals on Holy Thursday.

In doing these things he simply imitates what Jesus himself did. We see this clearly in the appearances he made to his disciples after his resurrection. They were locked away in the upper room, fearful of the Jewish authorities. When Jesus comes all unexpected among them they might have expected anger and profound disappointment at the way they had abandoned him. Instead his first word is ‘peace’ and in turn he gives them the power to forgive and heal (Jn 20.23) 

When he comes a second time and Thomas, the doubter, is among them, again there is no blaming or chiding. Instead he shows Thomas the scars that he has taken on as the price of mercy. (20.26) He knew Thomas deeply as a totally yes or no person, without shades of grey, and loved him that way. So he invites him to touch and believe. (20.27)

Thomas was blessed beyond all expectation; and Jesus promises that we too who have not seen him will be equally blessed. (20.29) We in turn can extend the gift of mercy, a grace so urgently needed in our sometimes ruthless and brutal world.

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