by Fr. David May.
At this time when we are all surely feeling the loss of our beloved Holy Father, even as we do rejoice in his going home to the Father, I want to pass on a word that came to me.
That word is the one the Lord spoke to his disciples three times in Sunday’s Gospel passage of St. Thomas meeting the Risen Lord: “Peace be with you!” (Jn 20:19) I cannot help but think that this word has been chosen by the Lord himself for each and every one of us, and for the whole Church, during this time of grief, loss, and yet celebrating a life so given over to the service of God.
What is that ‘peace’ that the Lord is offering his disciples?
First, the peace of reconciliation. Isn’t it intriguing that this is the first word the Lord speaks to his apostoles, most of whom had denied him or run away during his passion? This is the pure gift of Mercy Sunday: mercy without measure for all who seek it! Let us seek it and receive this gift from our Lord in the coming days!
Second, it is the ‘peace’ of one who has conquered! He shows Thomas his wounds, and in so doing assures his disciple not only that he is indeed alive, but that he has conquered every power of darkness and death that had assailed him during his passion. He is proclaiming a joy and a life that transcend and conquer every defeat of fallen humanity in a sinful world.
We have had the immense priviledge and gift of living during the pontificate of a Pope who exemplified to an extraordinary degree this ‘faith that conquers the world.’ I will never forget in 1984, during his visit to Ottawa, when the Holy Father, commenting upon the Beatitudes, shouted into the microphone: “Those who live the Beatitudes are invincible!” Three years after his being shot in Rome, here he was, undaunted, proclaiming our Faith with courage and assurance.
How can we not ourselves seek with all our hearts to follow this example as the best tribute to Pope John Paul II? May all we are and all we do in the coming days proclaim with our lives what St. Thomas proclaimed in the Upper Room on the eighth day: “My Lord and my God!”
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