The WORD in other words by Fr. Emmanuel Menguito, SVD – Christ the King Mission Seminary, Quezon City
Sunday in the Octave of Easter
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Everybody loves to receive a gift! I am sure you will agree with me. It is no wonder that everybody loves the season of gift-giving which is Christmas. But do you know that the Gospel reading for today very clearly states that God has given us four, yes, FOUR valuable gifts? The Risen Christ gives us four gifts in the event portrayed in the Gospel today.
First gift: Peace. The Lord’s first words upon seeing those gathered at that time are: “Peace be with you.” He has imparted peace to those in his presence. Peace is so elusive nowadays. Time and time again, we hear war rumors as countries not in good relationships are posturing against each other. Refugees by the millions are fleeing and are suffering from hunger, thirst, and alienation as they are driven away from the security of their homes due to wars and conflicts. We can only do our little share in letting peace reign in our own little worlds, in our respective families, workplaces, and communities. Let us always remember the reward for peacemakers in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall see God.”
Second gift: The Holy Spirit. Jesus says in the Gospel: “Receive the holy Spirit.” The greatest gift is the third Person of the Blessed Trinity. To him is given many names, and to mention a few, he is the fire of love, the advocate, and the consoler. He is the advocate who speaks for us and who speaks through us. He is the consoler, especially in moments of sadness, grief, and fear. Let us allow the Spirit to be the mover in our lives, to be the fire, especially in our efforts to love God and others. May the Lord continue to fill us with his Spirit.
Third gift: Forgiveness and reconciliation. The Gospel today is considered as the moment when Jesus instituted the sacrament of reconciliation. Anger and rancor must not find their place in the hearts of us believers. Jesus’ offering of his life has resulted in our being forgiven and reconciled with God. It is our turn to strive to forgive each other continually and always to be reconcilers for the first gift, i.e., peace, to reign supreme in all of us.
Fourth gift: Faith. While the doubting Thomas is portrayed as the recipient of this tremendous gift, this same gift is also given to everyone. Such a gift was poured into us at baptism. It is so sad to see countless Christians who call themselves so but are such only in name (nominal Christians). Faith needs to be seen in one’s daily life and has to be practiced. True believers have to walk the talk.