Do You Struggle to Believe? - Bishop Barron

Do You Struggle to Believe? - Bishop Barron's Sunday Sermon
Posted on 04/07/2024
Bishop Barron

Friends, on the Second Sunday of Easter, we have the inexhaustible reading from the twentieth chapter of John—one of the accounts of the Resurrection appearances of Jesus. These are in many ways the core texts of our Christian faith, so it behooves us to spend some careful time looking at them. This week, I want to reflect on the shalom (peace) that the risen Christ offers his disciples—and the struggle of one disciple, who was not present, to believe.

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Second Sunday of Easter (Sunday of Divine Mercy)

John 20:19–31

Friends, our magnificent Gospel today declares that there is no greater manifestation of the divine mercy than the forgiveness of sins. We are in the upper room with the disciples, those who had denied, betrayed, and abandoned their master. Jesus comes and stands in their midst. When they saw him, their fear must have intensified; undoubtedly, he was back for revenge.

Instead, he speaks the simple word “Shalom,” peace. He shows them his hands and his side, lest they forget what the world (and they) did to him, but he does not follow up with blame or retribution—only a word of mercy.

And then the extraordinary commission: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Jesus’ mercy is communicated to his disciples, who in turn are sent to communicate it to the world.

This is the foundation for the sacrament of Penance, which has existed in the Church from that moment to the present day as the privileged vehicle of the divine mercy.