Sunday 23 April 2017

Readings

2nd Sunday of Easter. [St George; St Adalbert].
Acts 2:42-47. Psalms 117(118):2-4, 13-15, 22-24. 1 Peter 1:3-9. John 20:19-31.

‘Peace be with you.’ — John 20:19-31.

These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ.

All of us are familiar with that feeling of self-congratulation for being among ‘those who have not seen and yet believe’, and with that tendency to label Thomas a man of little faith. We call him ‘doubting’ and sing old hymns that begin, ‘I am not like Thomas’—words we don’t really believe anyway.

Who could really blame Thomas? Thomas was disheartened—an experience common to all of us. He was also disillusioned. He had spent three years with Jesus, whom he loved deeply. In the last few days he had seen one of his friends, Judas, betray Jesus with a kiss; he had seen another friend, Peter, promise fidelity to Jesus and then deny him three times; and he had seen his Lord die painfully the death of a criminal. Now Peter and the others tell him that Jesus is alive. It’s just too much to believe. Not surprisingly, Thomas retreats into his own closed room of disbelief, anger, confusion and despair, locking the doors behind him.

What does Jesus do? He enters the closed room of Thomas’s world. He doesn’t apologise for being hard to believe in, or patronise him. Instead, he shows his own wounds. Thomas sees the signs of Jesus’ love, and declares, ‘My Lord and my God.’ Maybe he also said, ‘Lord, it is hard to believe.’ Jesus shows his wounds again and says, ‘Thomas, it is harder to love.’

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