Our Gospel today shows the connection between peace, mercy, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus first greets the disciples by saying twice: “Peace be with you.” He then breathes on them and says: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Peace, forgiveness of sins, and the gift of the Holy Spirit all go together.
This connection is reinforced when Thomas is present for Jesus’ second appearance. Jesus again greets them with “Peace be with you.” He then reminds Thomas that “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
We are able to believe without seeing because the Holy Spirit is present and active in the Church. We receive absolution from our sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation by the power of the Holy Spirit. We can be at peace because we are reconciled to God by Jesus’ Passion, Death, and Resurrection. This is why Jesus shows his wounds to Thomas as proof of His identity. By His wounds we are healed. This is the mystery of Jesus’ Divine Mercy; He gives us peace by paying the price for our sins with His own Precious Blood. We have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit, reconciled with God by Jesus, and we can now live in peace because of His Divine Mercy and the forgiveness of our sins. So let us celebrate His Divine Mercy this Sunday by rejoicing in the forgiveness of sins and by extending this mercy, love, and peace to others.