Hitting Rock Bottom

April 11, 2021   Second Sunday of Easter - Sunday of Divine Mercy (Lectionary: 44)

Reading I   Acts 4:32-35
The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common.
With great power the apostles bore witness
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great favor was accorded them all.
There was no needy person among them,
for those who owned property or houses would sell them,
bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.

Responsorial Psalm   118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
R. (1) Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
R. Alleluia.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
R. Alleluia.
I was hard pressed and was falling,
but the LORD helped me.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
The joyful shout of victory
in the tents of the just:
R. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
R. Alleluia.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
R. Alleluia.

Reading II   1 Jn 5:1-6
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God,
and everyone who loves the Father
loves also the one begotten by him.
In this way we know that we love the children of God
when we love God and obey his commandments.
For the love of God is this,
that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome,
for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.
And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.
Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ,
not by water alone, but by water and blood.
The Spirit is the one that testifies,
and the Spirit is truth.

Alleluia   Jn 20:29
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord;
Blessed are those who have not seen me, but still believe!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   Jn 20:19-31
On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
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.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to 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 into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

By Tom Kerrigan 

I am not going to lie. When I discovered that I was assigned the readings for Divine Mercy Sunday, I cheered out loud! Then, when I realized that today’s Gospel was about doubting Thomas, I, also named Thomas, naturally felt compelled to reflect more deeply on this unique encounter with the risen Christ. In digging deeper, my attention shifted to one of the most trying times of my life - my sophomore year of high school.

Truth be told, I never really wanted to attend the prestigious Catholic high school in the nearby town at the conclusion of my 8th grade year. Despite all my efforts, my parents convinced me that enrolling in this Catholic school would be the best thing for me and my future. They were confident that this decision would pay dividends for me for decades to come, but their investment didn’t yield the returns they imagined in the beginning. By the end of my 9th grade year, I was on the verge of transferring to another school.

In the spring of 2001, my family was facing some significant financial burdens and my parents faced foreclosure on the house in which they had raised my two sisters and I. When I found out that we would have to move out of our childhood home and go live with my aunt and her family in their furnished basement for the remainder of the school year,

I felt like my family and I had hit rock bottom - in more ways than one.

Those weeks seemed like months and were filled with so much fear, discord and uncertainty. My faith and trust in God wavered. I could not understand why God wouldn’t rescue my family from these dark days.

This stress was impacting my academic focus and contributing to a greater divide between my classmates and teachers. Thankfully, my French teacher at the time, Monsieur Little, was paying close attention to the changes in my attitude and behavior in class. When he saw that I was uncharacteristically struggling to finish a French test, he closed the door and pulled up a chair beside me.

Monsieur Little shared a lot of wisdom with me that afternoon, but there is one moment I will forever remember. As I told him that my world had been flipped upside down, he pointed directly at the crucifix above his chalkboard and cried out, “He wants to carry all your burdens, Tom. You need to place your trust in Him!”

At that moment, the flood gates had fully opened, and I started to understand the power of God’s saving grace.

This was my doubting Thomas moment and Monsieur Little helped me (re)discover that sacrificial and unconditional love of Christ.

Even twenty years later, I still harken back to that spiritual encounter, and I am reminded of how I continue to struggle with trusting in Christ’s promises. It is really more of a control issue, for me, than anything else. I find giving up control to be incredibly threatening and disabling - so much so that I would prefer to solve my problems on my own.

Thankfully, there is one practice that has transformed my faith life that does not look all that different from the particular conversation that I had with Monsieur Little over two decades ago - namely my daily chats with Christ. These chats ground me in ways that I usually cannot anticipate or measure spiritually much like when I convince myself that it is time to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

These often unplanned conversations occur just about anytime and anywhere that makes sense for me, but what is quintessential is that they happen often.

I suppose then it is fitting that on this Divine Mercy Sunday that I allow my family, friends and neighbors to feel my wounds in a similar way that Jesus shared himself intimately with Thomas. Today, I choose to step out of my comfort zone - in this prayerful moment - to renew my trust in my good and gracious God who goes as far as to believe in me, even in those all to familiar moments of my own unbelief.


Tom Kerrigan (JVC Cleveland 2007, JCU 2011) is a new father and committed husband who is grateful to be able to share a brief chapter of his faith journey with you. Tom recently became the Assistant Principal of Academics at Lowell Catholic in Lowell, MA. Tom and his wife, Gisella, welcomed their son, Lucan Ignacio, into this complex, yet beautiful world in April 2020. Tom enjoys sampling new culinary dishes (attn: Peruvian cuisine), playing frisbee golf as well as supporting his New England sports teams. Feel free to email Tom at

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1 comment

  • Tom, that was beautifully said and so befitting with the readings for today thank you so much for sharing a part of your life with so many of us it helps us to understand a little more your character and your spiritual perseverance I struggle to with control so I can relate in that respect Sharing our experiences we find a commonality with each other thank you again for sharing a part of your life and a part of your faith

    Terri rawlings

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