Reflection on 2nd Sunday of Easter: 24th April 2022

That You May Come to Believe

John, the author of today’s Gospel, deemed the story of the so-called “Doubting Thomas” an essential one to help us “come to believe.” John invites us to face our doubts, speak our fears, and yearn for more — more intimacy, more encounter, more experience of the living Christ. In Thomas we see a man who wouldn’t settle for someone else’s experience of resurrection, but stuck around in the hope of having his own; a man who dared to confess uncertainty in the midst of those who were certain; a man who recognised his Lord in scars, not in wonders. What is striking about Thomas’ story is not that he doubted, but that he did so publicly, without shame or guilt, and that his faith community allowed him to do so. And Jesus’ response was that he met Thomas right where he was, freely offering the disciple the testimony of his own scars, his own pain. Thomas’ story reminds us that resurrection is hard; hard to accept, hard to internalise and hard to apply to our lives, especially when our lives are marked by pain, loss, uncertainty and death. If nothing else, Thomas reminds us that faith isn’t straightforward. Accepting the resurrection, living it out, sharing it with the world, is tough. It’s okay to waver. It’s okay to take our time. It’s okay to hope for more.

John’s desire for his readers was that they would come to believe, that they would consent to the process, the path. The implication is that belief is not instantaneous. Conversion is a lifelong process. Maybe this is why the earliest Christians referred to their new faith as “The Way.” A ‘way’ is not a destination. It’s a road to walk. It’s an invitation to journey. John chose an encounter between doubts and scars to help us come to believe. Though we are a resurrection people, we are also a people in pain. The world around us is wounded, and the scars we’re carrying will likely last a long time. Jesus’ scarred body resonates for us in so many ways. Jesus and his scars are everywhere. Jesus opened a way for Thomas through the marks of his own suffering and trauma, sharing his broken body so that Thomas could find his way to wholeness by accepting his own woundedness. The story that comes after Easter is a story of scars and doubts. This is a tremendous gift; ponder it “so that you may come to believe and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Adapted: Debie Thomas journeywithjesus.net

‘The encounter between Thomas and the Risen Jesus is not only a story about believing in the fact of the resurrection but it is a story about believing that we are wounded and also resurrected at the same time.’

R.Rohr

Gospel: John 20:19-31

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.