What happened during those couple of days before Easter Sunday shook the apostles to the core. They had had great hopes in Jesus of Nazareth. They had seen him perform miracles. They had witnessed the cheering crowds on the previous Sunday. And now it’s all gone. We can try to imagine all the different emotions going through those poor men: delusion, disappointment, anger, pain, fear. No wonder they locked themselves up in that upper room. They feared for their lives. Not because of a virus, but because logic said that, after the Master, the followers would be next.
In the midst of the tense atmosphere in that room, Jesus comes. It is not an apparition. The gospel tells us that he “came and stood among them”, in person. Because he is alive … only ghosts appear! And the first thing Jesus does is to give them the gift of his peace. That was what they needed most in that particular, troubled time. Jesus knows what his friends were going through, he knows what they need most, and he delivers. On this Mercy Sunday, it’s good to reflect on this. When things seem to be going the wrong way, when I cannot understand the what or why of what is happening in my life, Jesus knows what I am going through, and he will not let me down. That’s why Jesus was always ready to forgive everybody who erred. Not because he justified the error. But because he could go deep into the person's heart and could see that, behind the wrong action, there was always something good hidden and crying to come out. That forgiveness, the mercy shown, enabled the other person to raise up from where they were and move on, bettered by the experience. “Go, and sin no more” is not just a command. It is an empowering of the person who, previously, had felt powerless before evil.
Thomas was not with his friends in that room when Jesus came. When the others told him what had happened, he did not believe them. Let us not rush to judge or condemn Thomas. Let’s be honest: if someone told you that a friend of yours who has recently died came to visit, would you believe them? Again, Jesus knew exactly what Thomas was going through, and comes to that same room the second time, specifically for Thomas. Clearly for Jesus, Thomas was not just a number, or one of the group, but an individual important to his heart.
When we find ourselves going through difficult times in our lives, let us turn to Jesus. Let us not forget the powerful message of Easter, that he is stronger than all our problems put together. And, with trust in his loving heart, we sincerely pray, “Jesus, I trust in You”.