I have been thinking about the gospel for the second Sunday of Easter for quite some time now.
I know it has been a while, but I keep going over this reading repeatedly in my mind. The reading is from John 20:19-31 – which just happens to be one of my favorite gospel passages.
In this gospel, John tells the story of Thomas. When Jesus first appears to the disciples after his Resurrection, Thomas was not present. In their excitement, the disciples told Thomas about Jesus’ appearance, perhaps silently thinking you should have been here.
Thomas is not only doubtful, but wants proof. He says, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
I can just hear the other apostles gasping! I, myself, would be thinking: I want proof too.
We all know what comes next. Jesus appears a week later and calls out to his disciples, “Peace be with you.” He very pointedly turns to Thomas and says, “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 devoutly replies, “My Lord and my God.”
Jesus then says, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Jesus’ words pierce my heart, knowing what I hold deeply in my heart. Blind faith is a struggle for me. Jesus knows this but I can’t help thinking I wish I had been there. Logically, I know that wishing something were so doesn’t make it happen.
What does bring me hope are the beliefs I hold about God. I know that God loves me. I know that God is patient, forgiving and merciful. Jesus gently chastises Thomas for his lack of faith and allows him time to come to grips with his Resurrection. I know, too, that God waits for us.
-Associate Patti Herrick