Praying Sunday’s Gospel

Resources for Exploring Next Sunday’s Gospel

Sunday of Divine Mercy  April 19th, 2020

It is a good spiritual practice to pray and explore next Sunday’s Gospel. CARFLEO assembles resources each week to help with this activity. You can use them for Lectio Divina, Visio Divina or Audio Divina. By focussing on the word, sacred art or evocative music, you can take different avenues to delve deeper into the meaning of Sunday’s Gospel.

Our Lady Queen of the World, Richmond Hill, ON

“My Lord and my God!”

John 20:28

John 20: 19- 31

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Commentary: “The Gospels tell us that Jesus appeared to the disciples on several occasions after they discovered that his tomb was empty. Part of the mystery of Jesus’ Resurrection is that he appeared to his disciples not as a spirit but in bodily form. The bodily form was not one that the disciples recognized though. In John’s Gospel, Mary of Magdala does not recognize that the figure standing before her is Jesus until he speaks to her. In Luke’s Gospel the disciples who meet Jesus on the road to Emmaus do not recognize him until he breaks bread with them. The resurrected Jesus had a physical presence, but the disciples couldn’t recognize Jesus unless he allowed them to. His resurrected body, nonetheless, showed the marks of his crucifixion.  From readings such as today’s Gospel, we also see that in his resurrected body, Jesus seems to be free of physical constraints. He appears to the disciples despite the fact that the doors were locked. Jesus greets his disciples with the gift of peace and the gift of the Holy Spirit. In doing so, Jesus commissions his disciples to continue the work that he has begun: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” During the meeting, Jesus also shows the integral connection between forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The story of Thomas illustrates our Christian experience today: We are called to believe without seeing. In fact, all Christians after the first witnesses have been called to believe without seeing. Thomas’s doubt is hardly surprising; the news of Jesus’ appearance was incredible to the disciples who had seen him crucified and buried. Thomas’s human nature compelled him to want hard evidence that the Jesus who appeared to the disciples after his death was indeed the same Jesus who had been crucified. Thomas is given the opportunity to act on that desire. He is our witness that Jesus is really risen.  Our faith is based on the witness of the Church that has preceded us, beginning with Thomas and the first disciples. Through Baptism we receive the same Holy Spirit that Jesus brought to the first disciples. We are among those who are “blessed” because we believe without having seen.“


1.  When have you ever doubted something before you had proof?

2. How do you think Jesus would have felt about Thomas not believing the other disciples?

3. How do examples of faith in other people inspire you?

Other Commentaries:

Pope Francis on Divine Mercy Sunday: ‘Contemplate boundless love’ (2018)

Living Beyond Doubt  Fr. Ron Rolheisr o.m.i.

Questioning your faith? Follow ‘Doubting Thomas’ and stay close to the ‘Believing Church’ by Brother Silas Henderson, SDS

Song Lyrics – Something in the Water by Carrie Underwood

He said, “I’ve been where you’ve been before.  Down every hallway’s a slamming door.

No way out, no one to come and save me.  Wasting a life that the Good Lord gave me.

Then somebody said what I’m saying to you, opened my eyes and told me the truth.”

They said, “Just a little faith, it’ll all get better.”  So I followed that preacher man down to the river and now I’m changed and now I’m stronger.

There must’ve been something in the water.  Oh, there must’ve been something in the water.

Well, I heard what he said and I went on my way.  Didn’t think about it for a couple of days

Then it hit me like a lightning late one night.  I was all out of hope and all out of fight.

Couldn’t fight back the tears so I feel on my knees saying, “God, if you’re there come and rescue me.”  Felt love pouring down from above.  Got washed in the water, washed in the blood and now I’m changed and now I’m stronger.

There must’ve been something in the water.  Oh, there must’ve been something in the water.

And now I’m singing along to amazing grace.  Can’t nobody wipe this smile off my face. 

Got joy in my heart, angels on my side.  Thank God almighty, I saw the light. 

Gonna look ahead, no turning back.  Live every day, give it all that I have. 

Trust in someone bigger than me.

Ever since the day that I believed I am changed, and now I’m stronger.

There must be something in the water (amazing grace)

Oh, there must be something in the water (how sweet the sound)

Oh, there must be something in the water (that saved a wretch)

Oh, there must be something in the water (like me)

Oh yeah

 I am changed (I once was lost) / Stronger (but now I’m found) / (was blind but now I see)

Visio Divina Resources

The Incredulity of St. Thomas by A.N. Mironov
Geoff Wheaton SJ

Celebrating Easter and Holy Week 2020 has a Visio Divina for Caravaggio’s Incredulity of St. Thomas on page 26.  See also

Caravaggio Incredulity of St. Thomas

Liturgy Tools has several images depicting this Gospel passage.

Visio Divina Questions

  1. What do you see?
  2. What do you feel?
  3. What do you wonder?
  4. What questions do you have?
  5. How is this work related to the Gospel?
  6. Where does your prayer lead you?
  7. What does it mean for my life?
  8. What are some of the beliefs about our faith that you have difficulty with?
  9. Jesus says, “Peace be with you” three times in this passage. What brings you peace?

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