April 19, 2020: Second Sunday of Easter
Reading: John 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 nail marks 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.
There was a lot to take in for the apostles on this day — beginning from experiencing fear, uncertainty and loss, to knowing that their Lord was alive among them. This must have been not only a shock but marvelously over powering. Jesus puts their minds at ease with his gentle words of, “Peace be with you” along with the commission to go and continue the work he had begun.
The reading goes on further to tell us about Thomas, who came late to the home where the disciples were staying. I think Thomas gets a bad rap as ‘the doubting Thomas.” It was not so much that he didn’t believe that Jesus rose; perhaps it was that he didn’t believe his fellow disciples. After all, they saw with their own eyes, when Jesus appeared to them in the locked room. Jesus showed them his hands and his side.
It seems that in our own humanity, we are a people who must see to believe, which is not all bad and sometimes wise. But, many times it is easy to think we have the right answer, instead of looking at a situation from more than one angle. In the diversity in today’s world it is paramount that we welcome and leave plenty of room for openness.
Name ways that you can share your openness with others this week and determine when you will do so.