Believing_Second Sunday of Easter


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 nail in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks 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’ .

(John 20:24-29).

Jesus was crucified around 30 AD, and the Gospel of John was written sometime around 100 AD. John’s community was struggling to keep faith in the face of persecution, the absence of Jesus, and the realization that Jesus’ return was not imminent.

Despite the joy we feel as we celebrate Easter, we can’t close our eyes to the fact that the world can be a cruel and unjust place. We are surrounded by examples of poverty, neglect, abuse, and apathy. We can become burdened by these things and lose touch with the loving God who created all things good and sent Jesus to redeem us from our sins. When this happens, doubt can be like a black cloud hanging over us.

The story of “doubting Thomas” is used to communicate this limited thinking. Thomas wanted obvious, empirical evidence. He was unable to let his present experience penetrate his grief over the loss of his rabbi and friend. [Living Liturgy 2020]

Unlike Thomas, we will never “see” Jesus and put our hands into his nail marks. However, we are asked to have faith in Jesus Christ present in the world. Our thinking about faith can never be limited to nailmarks. We can see Christ at work in the world in all of our positive encounters, and we can use that to inspire us to greater belief. We can believe that we were created beautiful and holy. We can believe that things can change for the better, no matter how hopeless a situation may appear.

Let us use this Easter season to respond to Jesus’ invitation to believe in him and to accept the peace that the risen Jesus gives to us. God wants nothing more than for us to live fully and respond to his call – to break free of doubt and proclaim, “My Lord and my God!”

When have you experienced doubt? How were you able to overcome it? How did it affect your faith?

[Adapted from Word on the Go, a downloadable resource from RENEW International]

See – Touch – Believe!

image by He Qi
image by He Qi

This Easter season is not so easily under­stood. We know Jesus rose from the dead; we cannot so easily grasp how this has an immediate effect on us. The resurrec­tion is a mystery. Risen Life is different, a new happening, a fresh experience. Most surely, risen Life is of God. It instills Easter joy.

Our gospel shows us why the resurrection makes all the difference in the world. When the risen Lord appears to the disciples locked away behind closed doors, fear is dispelled by peace, sin is dispelled by forgiveness, doubt is dispelled by Presence, unbelieving is dispelled by seeing-believing. The Lord comes to the disciples a first time on that first Easter Sunday evening when Thomas is not present. Thomas makes known quite clearly to the other disciples what he needs in order to believe that Jesus is alive. He must encounter, see, touch—put his finger and hand in the wounds that he expects to see on Jesus’ body.

A week later, when Thomas is present, Jesus appears to the disciples again, and responds to Thomas’s unbelief. Jesus is not angry with Thomas for not be­lieving; he does not judge him. He simply invites: here, see, touch, and believe. Seeing-believing—for Thomas and for us—is not merely an exercise in intellec­tual assent, but a practical encounter played out through our acceptance of the risen Life that is offered us. Risen Life is God’s divine Life transforming who and how we are. Resurrection makes all the difference—for us, for all of creation. [Living Liturgy 2013]

We live risen Life and hasten its fulfillment when we, like Thomas, see and believe. See­ing is believing. What do we see? People in need. How do we believe? Reach out and touch them with transforming presence. What do we see? Unjust situations. How do we believe? Act to transform systems and relationships. What do we see? Holiness in others who fol­low Christ. How do we believe? Choose to be transformed with them as the Body of Christ.

Adapted from Renew International

A musical reflection…