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Engaging the Word: Divine Mercy Sunday

Today’s first reading gives an account of the growth of the early Church, while the second is an encouraging message from St. Peter to those who have recently become Christians. In the Gospel Jesus gives a message of encouragement as well when, after rising from the dead, he greets his disciples with the words: “Peace be with you.”

What sort of peace does Jesus offer? He doesn’t mean that the Church won’t face conflicts, divisions, or doubts. We see some doubts in the apostle Thomas, and these are overcome. Peter’s message in the second reading also warns of “trials” we will face, so Jesus’ peace does not mean we won’t have difficulties. But Peter’s letter promises that good can come out of these difficulties. Peter uses the image of gold tested by fire, gold that is heated to burn away impurities. Even our suffering can serve our redemption, just as the wounds of Jesus do not disappear in his glorified new body but they no longer cause him pain. In fact, they even help bring others to faith.

The peace that Jesus offers is the peace that comes from faith, from knowing that God’s power is greater than evil, from believing that the Lord can even turn suffering into glory.

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