We often refer to this gospel as the gospel of the Doubting Thomas.
But I dare say that this was not a doubting Thomas, just being a human.
And was looking for concrete evidence in which he could place his trust. The Lord recognizes that and gives him that concrete evidence by coming before him and inviting him.
Who put his hands into the large wounds that he may realize that this truly is the crucified Jesus who has been glorified, stands there in its midst as the glorified one.
It’s an interesting story because it starts again with the first evening of Easter, when the Lord comes before the disciples hearing to them in that room where they have gathered in the year.
And probably in great dismay. And Jesus comes into their midst and he offers them that very beautiful greeting: Peace with you. The greeting that probably does not have the same significance to us as it had to them at that moment.
Because if you were to go back to the original language, you would find that the words that Jesus offer in his greeting is Shalom, a word we translate as peace, but in reality, it had a much deeper meaning, for it was the greeting of the Messiah.
It was the greeting that ushered in an awareness that you were living in a new time, that you were now in the messianic age because the messiah was here with you.
And he was sharing with you this greeting. And he composed the greeting with perhaps the most important words in scripture, the Holy Spirit. He breathes on them and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Literally, he allows to come forth from himself.
The very spirit of the glorified lord.
Literally bestows upon them the spirit of God or in so doing, he brings them into that eternal oneness.
By the spirit, they are at one with the risen Christ and live forever in harmony in union with the father, in a sense that’s the mystery.
That is best used to explain the greeting.
Peace be with you. But peace comes from our acceptance of our life in God.
He comes then from our willingness to allow the Lord to embrace us.
And to gather us into the oneness of his life, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
A sense that is almost incomprehensible to us.
Because it demands a great faith. And you say, well, where does that faith come from?
Go back to Thomas again, and Thomas basically is saying to the disciples when they tell him that night that they have seen the Lord saying, I need to see something concrete. I need to feel his presence.
I need to be able to touch him. It’s a word in the first reading and it’s a word – I often recommend that people read the Acts of the Apostles.
Because it’s a word that is more frequently used than any other word in the Acts of the Apostles.
That’s the word witness. Brings us to faith.
The weakness of those who are willing to live as the extension of Easter.
Willing literally to accept the fact that the Messiah has come and the Messiah has transformed each and every one of us.
And as the first reading the prayers said. This happened when we were baptized. Happen when holy
water poured over our heads. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Transformed us.
Our baptism brought us into the life of Jesus.
You might not remember, but after you are baptized. The oil of Chrism was taken.
And on the crown of your head. Crosses were made.
And those crosses were said with a prayer. The prayer was that you had now become one in Christ.
Had become Priest, you had become a prophet and you had become king, you had become one in the life of the risen Lord.
And because of that, then, unfortunately for most of us, it’s beyond our memory.
But that becomes the basis of all of our growth in faith.
Because our faith is the unfolding of the mystery of baptism.
We come to the altar. To participate in the Eucharist, then the reference is made again to that as the mystery of the Eucharist being the mystery of God’s ever loving mercy being poured out upon us and shared with us.
But you can’t come there. You’ve been baptized.
So you have come into the life of the Lord.
Or what the Eucharist is, is a celebration. What happened in our baptism?
The celebration of our new life and growth in the risen Christ.
And so as we come to this second Sunday of Easter are more appropriately days or days referred to as the Sunday of Divine Mercy. We recognize that we are the products.
We are the products of God’s mercy. Well, we would not be here were we not blessed with the mercy of God that has brought us to a realization and appreciation of the gift that God has made of God’s self to us?
How will we bring others? We will bring others by at first reading I, being witnesses.
Witnesses to being alive in Christ and living in the age of the Messiah.
How will you do that? Well, they did it very concretely in that region.
They did it very concrete in that region. They took their assets. And they shared them. So that no one had more. No one had less. One had what they needed, and it was at that witness of this new style of life. This new understanding. This new culture that was emerging from these believers.
Others aim. Question. I find in them what Thomas found.
Find in them the presence of our compassionate God.
I’m in them. The New Age.
The unfortunate part of human history is that it has occurred. Brief episodes. But never to the extent that it could. That’s why we live in the world we live today where people kill one another. There those in power in those. Power on others.
We have to look. Horrible situations in the world today.
Ugars. Yemen, Syria. Our own country.
Two days ago. You’re in our own city. Homeless in the streets. People lining up for food.
A father goes to celebrate a daughter’s birthday.
Ends up killing her mother and her two sisters.
Spared her only because she hid from him in that process.
Reality is that the world cries for the witness.
Witness, I believe, is this time. That we may show a new way.
That we may be advocates. Of God’s way.
I mean, give concrete witness to that. Families in our communities. Hopefully, our nation and the world.
But that’s the only way it’s going to change. Only way it will change.
If we and ourselves over into the hands of God.
And the God instruments. Learning by our life, word and action. A New Age.
An age that begins with the greeting. Shalom. Right?
God, give us the strength of the Holy Spirit to be faithful, to bring about his Kingdom.