The Sunday after Easter Sunday is the last day of the Octave of Easter. It is commonly known as Thomas Sunday, Quasimodo Sunday, or Divine Mercy Sunday. Whatever one wishes to call it, it is on this day Christians celebrate Jesus’s promise that “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29b). Thomas’ love for Jesus was great such that he refused to believe hearsays of Jesus’ resurrection before he actually sees and feels the flesh of the Lord himself.
Aside from Doubting Thomas, the Gospel for this Sunday centers on Jesus’ emphasis of His delivering of peace to the Eleven. He thrice says “peace be with you” to Peter and the Church’s first ever bishops. In Mass, we commemorate this before the Communion doxology, where we share Christ’s greetings of peace to our fellow faithful.
However as our parish priest has pointed it out, we have recently lost our grip on the true meaning of “peace.” When we greet, we just nod at our seatmate, not even caring to look at his/her eyes. If ever we get to utter that four-word phrase, we say it in a haphazard way such that what comes out of our mouths instead is “pisbiwiju.”
In as much as it looks rude, it appears that we are only half-hearted with our greetings.
When Jesus first uttered these words last 30 AD, he meant it with all His heart. That’s why He went all the way to die for us. To show greater love, He owned Death and conquered him with His glorious resurrection.
The least we can do is to follow Jesus. The next time we hear Mass, let’s look into the eyes of our seatmate, smile at him/her, grasp his hands, and say out loud “PEACE BE WITH YOU.”