Sunday, April 24, 2022: Second Sunday of Easter
Gospel: 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 on 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.
The disciples are in a locked room hiding, frightened and alone. Jesus appears in their midst and offers them the traditional Jewish greeting of “Peace be with you.” He then shows them the wounds in his hands and side. They recognize him and they rejoice. This seems like such a calm and understated reaction on the part of the disciples after the trauma of Good Friday and the dismay of finding an empty tomb. But they are in hiding and for good reason.
But not all were present at the first appearance of Jesus. Thomas, often called “Doubting Thomas” was absent and refuses to believe Jesus returned without seeing the wounds with his own eyes. Jesus appears again and shows Thomas the proof he needs and Thomas immediately believes. The Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” That’s us!
We have been taught about Jesus and we have come to believe without physical proof. That’s faith. Through faith we grow in understanding and experience that increases our faith, that belief in God is not only in our minds but also imprinted on our hearts.
Doubt and questioning are not bad things. Blind acceptance doesn’t help us to grow. Continuing to search, to study and to learn more about our faith, especially through Scripture study, is how we grow into a deeper relationship with Jesus. Take advantage of an opportunity to do that in the near future.