A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC
July 29, 2016
December 14, 2019
Lord, help us to believe even when we do not understand.
April 7, 2018
Today we hear about Jesus’ appearance to the disciples after his resurrection. John tells us they were hidden in a locked room in Jerusalem in fear. Jesus greets them saying, “Peace be with you.” What a wonderful greeting to a group fearing for their future! But one of them was missing—Thomas. When he returned, his friends told him all about Jesus’ visit. He couldn’t believe—without seeing and touching the Risen Christ’s wounds. During his second appearance, Jesus invited Thomas to touch his wounds to help him believe.
Do you know we hear this reading about the disciples and Thomas’s struggle to believe every year?! That’s unusual and should tell us how important this message is to us as today’s disciples. Meeting Jesus and believing in the life he shows us doesn't come easy—even to those who walked the earth with him.
In his gospel, John is telling us that Easter is the beginning of a new reality of abandoning fear and living Easter joy. Jesus’ greeting “Peace be with you” helps us to let go of old fears and invites us to live in the light of the Resurrection—a new beginning. Jesus is with us always— this is our peace. Secondly, Jesus encourages us to forgive one another—to live in love and to carry that love into the world in which we live. Most of us don’t have to look too for to see the importance of forgiveness in our relationships with family and friends. Looking a little broader, we can make a list of where forgiveness is needed to heal relationships among peoples and nations. Finally, we are challenged to believe. This is where Thomas and his story leads us into a new relationship with Jesus. Thomas needed to encounter the Risen Christ physically and personally. He couldn't simply take someone else’s word for it. Like Thomas, we must continually meet Christ in our daily lives. We do not have the benefit of meeting Jesus physically like the first disciples did. However, a personal encounter and experience of Jesus is what transforms us. It is this continued relationship that enables us to bring peace, forgiveness and the witness of belief to our lives and the world.