Gospel Reflection for 28th April - Divine Mercy Sunday
Doubting or Believing Thomas?
With all the initial joy and energy of the Resurrection passing; we are now faced with a dose of reality: fear, confusion and doubt. Not everyone believed that Jesus had truly risen from the dead. After all, they had seen him being condemned, beaten and crucified.
They had witnessed him die on the cross and they had seen him being buried, so how could he be alive? We are told in the first line of the gospel this Sunday that ‘the doors were closed in the room where disciples were, for fear of the Jews.’
The friends of Jesus were hiding because the Romans were also looking for any of his followers. So they were hiding because their were sad, disappointed and afraid after all they had seen and experienced few days earlier.
And so, what seems to be out of nowhere, Jesus appears and causally says, ‘Peace be with you.’ To prove beyond all doubt that it is him, Jesus shows them the signs of his sufferings; his hands and his side. Clearly they needed concrete proof and evidence to convince them! Then Jesus commissions them with carrying on his ministry and mission. However, one of the group is missing; Thomas. When he returns, the others tell him that Lord had appeared to them and had spoken to them. However, just like them earlier, he not convinced and he too needs some real proof and evidence before he believes what they have told him. He wants to see Jesus with his own eyes!
Eight days later, Jesus appears and Thomas is with them. Again, Jesus wishes them peace. Then he speaks directly to Thomas and invites him to puts his fingers into this wounds as proof of his presence and resurrection. Jesus even asks for Thomas’ hand, but we are not actually told that Thomas did in fact put his finger into the wounds of Jesus. Instead he prays the great prayer that we still use today, ‘My Lord and my God!’ This is not the prayer of one who doubts, but the prayer of someone who has faith and believes.
It is worth noting that when Jesus appeared again, he did not give out to or judge Thomas for his apparent lack of faith. He simple accepted Thomas and all those who doubted the resurrection as he found them. When we have doubts, there is no need to panic, worry or get too upset. We all go through times when our faith is not strong as we would like it to be. Jesus stands with us as he stood with Thomas. Jesus accepts us as he accepted Thomas.
When we are struggling with our faith, can we look to this great disciple of faith, Thomas and make his prayer our own today, ‘My Lord and my God.’
– Br Michael Moore OMI
Divine Mercy Sunday
The presence of the risen Jesus dispels fear and brings peace to his friends
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.