Jesus, help me understand mercy, and help me ask for it when I’ve done something wrong. Amen!

The Apostles were still sad because Jesus had died, when Jesus came into the room with them! “Why are you sad?” He asked. “I’m not a ghost; it’s really me. Touch me and see.” He ate some food to show He was alive, then helped them understand why He died and came back to life. “I told you that this would happen to me,” He said; “now remember it.”

“Mercy” can be a hard idea to understand. This week’s Gospel (Luke 24:35-48), though, gives us a great example of what mercy really means.

Anyone who has ever done something to feel sorry or ashamed about knows the feeling of dread you get when you think about it. If you’ve hurt someone and then you see that person, the guilt is awful!

Often, you have no idea how to ask forgiveness. You’re hoping for mercy: hoping that the person will be kind and reach out to you, so you don’t have to make the first move.

In the Gospel story, the Apostles must have been hoping for mercy in a big way. They had followed Jesus and then He was crucified, so they were doubting whether Jesus was really the Son of God. Then Jesus appeared, having come back to life, and they had to admit they’d been doubting.

Imagine how embarrassed and ashamed the Apostles must have felt! They probably expected Jesus to yell. All they could do was crowd around Him and hope for mercy.

Jesus provided it. He didn’t scold them, just asked why they were sad when here He was, alive again. He pulled them close and even let them touch the wounds in His hands and side.

Mercy is hard to ask for, because you never know if someone will give it. But Jesus is our greatest teacher. He had been doubted by His closest friends, but He forgave them and hugged them. He also talked with them about what had happened, so they could understand better and not make the same mistakes again.

If you need mercy from another person, ask for it. Jesus will be right there with you!