Sunday 1 April 2018

About Today Readings

The incredulity of St Thomas, c. 1600-01. Sannssouci, Bilder-galerie, Potsdam

Easter Sunday.

Acts 10:34, 37-43. Psalm 117(118):1-2, 16-17, 22-23. Colossians 3:1-4/1 Corinthians 5:6-8. John 20:1-9.

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad—Psalm 117(118):1-2, 16-17, 22-23.

Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture that he must rise form the dead.

On the evening of the first Easter Day, Jesus says to Thomas ‘you believe because you have seen.’ It is extraordinary, therefore, that Caravaggio has made Thomas appear blind. He is shown putting his fingers in the wounds of Jesus as though he were in complete darkness, groping to find something he has mislaid. This captures Thomas’ position perfectly. He has lost something, namely his faith. It is even more striking that Caravaggio has made Thomas, who appears so full of vigour and daring in the story of Lazarus, now seem so old and bent. The shoulder of his robes is torn. His hand rests on his hip in the gesture of an elderly person who has trouble walking or even standing up straight.

There is a lifetime’s experience in the frame of Thomas’ body. He is not going to be easily impressed by improbable stories. Indeed, Caravaggio has made Thomas appear more like ourselves than anything. St John’s Gospel is pointed straight at us in all our worldliness, need for proof and even cynicism. ‘Blessed are they who have not seen and yet still believe.’ This figure has not seen. It seems that he can hardly walk. An Easter faith has not yet broken on him. But it will. Please God, a new Easter faith this year will bring us all to a deeper sense of the mystery and wonder of God. It will put a spring in the step of even the most cautious and weary of us. It will set us free to walk in the light.

The way Jesus uses his hand to guide the hand of Thomas is beautiful. Jesus will guide us all to an Easter faith if we, too, let him take us by the hand, as though we are still blind.

Email this Print This Page