A reading from the gospel according to John 20:19-31:
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
24 Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples said to 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 into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 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.”
27 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.”
28 Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book.
31 But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
Some pointers for reflection:
1. On the evening of that first day of the week, that was of course resurrection day, the apostles should have been celebrating because of the good news they have received from Mary Magdalene that Jesus has risen from the dead. However due to their unbelief, they were still huddled in a locked room with fear in their heart. They were in this condition when Jesus suddenly appeared from nowhere and announced peace to them. After they were assured that it was indeed the Lord who was in their midst, their fear turned into joy. Jesus is alive and He has just fulfilled His promise that He will not leave them orphan.
2. Jesus has fulfilled His mission. For three years, He trained His twelve apostles but one went lost. Now it is time to turn over the mission for them to continue. As the Father has sent Him, He is now sending them to the whole world. Then He gave them the Holy Spirit and with it, the power to forgive sins. Not one of those present protested. With their fear having now evaporated, the apostles were ready. No turning back for them. They have put their trust in the risen Lord and come what may, they will be sent as sheep in the midst of wolves (Matthew 10:16).
3. Thomas was not present when Jesus first appeared. When he was told that Jesus is alive and in fact, He already appeared to them in physical form, he was doubtful and he laid down his condition before he can believe and that is, to first see His wounds. That is why when he finally saw Jesus and His wounds, his doubt vanished and proclaimed his faith by uttering the now famous words “My Lord and my God”.
4. Unfortunately, the unflattering label “Doubting Thomas” stuck in the mind of many people. The fact is, all the eleven apostles were doubtful until everyone saw Jesus. Yet as human as he is, Thomas was just living the principle “To see is to believe “. God is merciful for He granted his wish.
5. Of course, we cannot follow the example of Thomas. Jesus has already proclaimed that we are blessed because we believe even without seeing. That is why our antidote to unbelief is faith. Though we have not seen Jesus with our physical eyes, we are able to develop a personal relationship with Him as our Lord and God. Through this commitment to believe in Him, we are able to experience peace. Like the apostles, may we hear the voice of the risen Lord telling us to go forth and share this peace and blessing to others.
For further reflection, go here.