Easter is the event in which the Church is given authority to forgive every repeated sin. To that end, She receives the Holy Spirit from the Risen Lord Jesus.
WE HAVE SEEN THE LORD!
Last week’s Gospel depicted Peter and the beloved disciple John running to see the empty tomb after Mary Magdalene reported her astonishing finding to them (John 20:1-9). They journeyed from imperfect faith to genuine faith (“early in the morning”). And, still, there remained much more for them to understand about the meaning of Jesus having to rise from the dead.
Today’s Gospel takes place on the evening of the same day. The rest of the disciples are gathered in the upper room gripped by fear (John 20:19-31). The Risen Lord Jesus appears to them, showing them his hands and side (v. 20). He transforms them bringing deep and lasting peace that immediately scatters the darkness of worry and fright.
The hallmarks of intentional disciples are confidence and joy.
Then we learn that the apostle Thomas was not there (v. 24). While the others passionately explain the appearance of the Risen Lord to Thomas, he only will believe if Jesus fulfills all his conditions: “Unless I see…place my finger…place my hand…I will not believe” (v. 25). The disciples perform poorly in their initial moment of evangelizing and Thomas stubbornly clings to his unbelief. Only in touching the crucified body will Thomas believe.
Genuine Christian faith is not conditioned believing.
Jesus appears again and this time Thomas is present. Thomas jettisons his pretentions and confidently exclaims his faith: “My Lord and my God!” (vv. 26-28). Thomas’ faith emerges not so much from the evidence of seeing the Risen Lord Jesus as from an immense sorrow of having persisted in unbelief. Like all of us, Thomas needs to see how good the good God is and how dependent he is upon the good God.
The same Risen Lord Jesus deeply desires for us to encounter Him so that we all will grow in confidence and joy.
- Are we known as people who really are living a life of faith?
- How does our faith make for deeper confidence and joy?
- How does our faith move others to encounter the Risen Lord Jesus?