We live in a society which seems hardly to understand forgiveness, still less contrition. We have a very strong sense of blame - and guilt, but little sense of contrition and sorrow.
We see this in personal relationships, in public life, and in legal relationships. When we feel wrong is done to us, we seek someone to blame, but when we may be responsible for a wrong ... we seek someone else to blame.
And I think this approach affects, or is perhaps a symptom of the way in which people approach life.
Sorry was always a hard word to say - and nowadays it is a word we often hear demanded, but seldom see granted.
At the root it is recipe for human arrogance and pride. We see contrition as a sign of weakness - and denial as an indication of strength.
Today's Gospel, by contrast, suggests something very different. It is not about pointing the finger of blame, but about accepting the need for God’s grace. It is not about self-justification, but about confession.
It is about human frailty and weakness being healed by the risen Christ.
In the story of Thomas, it is about our lack of faith and our difficulty in believing and trusting in God.
And earlier in the Gospel, in these words about forgiveness, it is about the mercy and love offered to us by the Risen Christ through his Church.
And for our society, the problem is not that God’s mercy is not enough, but that people do not feel any need for it.
After all, if is always someone else who is to blame that person deserves not forgiveness, but punishment, vengeance.
The Risen Christ offers us not punishment, but forgiveness; not compensation, but Reconciliation; not blame, but His Mercy
And there is only one thing we need to do to receive this wonderful Gift. It is simple and in its simplicity it is wonderful. It opens the gates to Grace.
To receive this wonderful gift of the Divine Mercy, all we must do is know our need of it, and from our hearts ask for it. And that is precisely what modern society cannot do.