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]

Conflicts? Opportunities?

naive-jerusalem-large In the beginning, all things came to be. At the end, things as we know them will cease to be. Does anything really last forever? Certainly not temples, not nations, not even the foundations of the earth. So, what does last forever? God, the wisdom of Jesus, divine Life. And, yes, the lives of those who persevere in fidelity to the name and mission of Jesus and who “will secure” a share in divine Life. At the end . . . a new beginning.

We tend in everyday living to become mired in what is immediate, tangible, satisfies our present needs. The gospel challenges us to think beyond the present to what really is critical for us: the end of time and the life we do or do not secure for ourselves. Our whole life is a choice about end times.

This Sunday is a reminder that we secure our Life at the end of time through fidelity to Jesus’ name in the present time. Only the irrefutable and irresistible wisdom of Jesus gives us the strength and courage to be faithful to the end. Through our perseverance we discover that what we thought was the end is really a new beginning: God’s gift of eternal Life to those who are faithful. [Living Liturgy 2013]

Here is a sobering thought: the way we care for the children, are honest at the workplace, take leisure time to care for ourselves affects our whole world and everyone in it. This is the privilege of discipleship: we can make a difference! This is the effect of faithful discipleship: the world is a better place—we have readied it for Christ’s Second Coming at the end of time by our faithful and
grace-filled living now.

Every choice we make now bears import for our eternal future. Each choice to be faithful to Jesus’ name is a new beginning—a deepening of discipleship, a growth in wisdom, a strengthening of unselfish love, a fuller bonding in the Body of Christ, a realization of Jesus’ saving mission. Each choice to be faithful stretches us toward the final new beginning: fullness of Life in God.