(CNS photo/Paul Haring)

April 24, 2022

At the Regina Coeli prayer on Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis says the Risen Jesus wishes to return to stay with us and only waits for us to seek Him, since He is always ready to help us overcome our fears and unbelief.

Pope Francis led the midday recitation of the Regina Coeli prayer in St. Peter’s Square with forty thousand pilgrims onhand on this Divine Mercy Sunday.

The Pope participated and gave the homily at the morning Mass that took place earlier in the Basilica with the presence of 8,500 faithful, including around 300 Missionaries of Mercy called to Rome for the weekend.

Speaking to the crowds from the Apostolic Palace study window overlooking the square, the Pope recalled the day’s Gospel that speaks about the first and second apparition of the Risen Jesus to the disciples in the Upper Room. He suggested we focus on the Apostle Thomas and Jesus.

Thomas as one of us

Recalling how the Apostle Thomas was not present when the Lord first appeared and would not believe the Lord had really risen until his firsthand witness of the second appearance eight days later later, the Pope pointed out how Thomas represents us all, as we too struggle at times like Thomas wishing to actually see the Lord or seeking a concrete sign of the Lord’s presence and love.

We should not be ashamed of our doubts, the Pope added, as the story of Thomas teaches us that “the Lord is not looking for perfect Christians who never doubt and always flaunt a steadfast faith.”

The “adventure of faith” is marked by “lights and shadows,” the Pope explained, whether moments of comfort and zeal, or weariness and doubt.

“The Gospel shows us Thomas’ “crisis” to tell us that we should not fear the crises of life and faith.”

A healthy crisis in our faith life can humble us, the Pope said, and help us see that we need God and to seek Him always, like Thomas did to touch the Lord’s wounds and experience His love anew.

“It is better to have an imperfect but humble faith that always returns to Jesus, than a strong but presumptuous faith that makes us proud and arrogant.”

Jesus does not give up

Pope Francis recalled how Jesus appeared twice to the disciples – once and then again eight days later – showing how the Lord does not give up on us or become tired of us due to our doubts and weaknesses.

Even with the doors closed, the Lord returns to us to help dispel our fears and doubts, and allows us to see His wounds, “signs of His love that has espoused our frailties.”

Seek the Risen Jesus

In order to overcome our moments of weariness and crisis, we need to be reassured that the “the Risen Jesus wishes to return to stay with us,” and only waits for us to seek him, to call upon him, even to express like Thomas our doubts or unbelief so He may help us overcome them with His patient and merciful love.

“Let us promise ourselves the next time, in our fatigue, to seek Jesus, to return to Him, to His forgiveness, to those wounds that have healed us. In this way, we will also become capable of compassion, of approaching the wounds of others without inflexibility and without prejudice.”

In conclusion, the Pope prayed that Our Lady, Mother of Mercy, may accompany us on the journey of faith and love.

By Thaddeus Jones

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