Just a Word – Second Sunday of Easter 2020
Just a word…Second Sunday of Easter…April 19, 2020
In today’s Gospel we find the disciples of Jesus locked in a room, out of fear. Not one to let a locked door deter him, Jesus passes right through the door into their midst, offering them the gift of peace. After showing them the wounds in his hands and his side, Jesus breathed on the disciples, commissioning them to become a community of witnesses to all that happened in Jerusalem, to him, and his triumph over death, his resurrection into new life. He invokes the Holy Spirit to empower them on their new mission.
Jesus exits the scene, Thomas enters. He was not present when Jesus appeared to the others, and when told of Jesus’ appearance, he scoffs. Thomas is having none of it! He needs to see and experience the risen Jesus for himself. He didn’t have to wait long. A week later, the disciples are again gathered in that locked room, and this time, Thomas is there among them. Enter Jesus, once more undeterred by the lock on the door, and again his first words are of peace. Then he speaks only to Thomas, offering him proof of the resurrection… touch me, I am real…it’s true!…to which evidence Thomas replies, “My Lord and my God!”
Fast forward to our time upon this earth…we twenty-first century Christians do not have the privilege of meeting Jesus in a room filled with other disciples, or of touching his healed wounds and thereby believing his message, or of having Him offer us the gift of peace…or do we? Jesus encourages all who did not physically witness the events in Jerusalem 2000 years ago to discover the truth of his life and teachings for ourselves. How do we understand this? Perhaps we encounter Jesus in our private prayer, or in our struggle for justice, in our serving of the powerless or in our worshipping in our communities. When we reach out to others, when we take some crucified face in our hands and offer understanding and relief, when we show a person troubled by some circumstance of life that we care …in all these ways and more we witness to the power bequeathed to us by the risen Christ. In all these ways, we receive the peace of Christ when we offer it to others.
This gospel offers us comfort from an unlikely source, from Thomas, who instead of being the doubting one of memory, perhaps is the most like us. He wanted proof…is any of us so different? One message that comes through loud and clear from this gospel is that Jesus met Thomas where he was. And isn’t that what we need to hear? Isn’t that what we need to know, especially in this time of uncertainty, when we are confronted by a circumstance of life that is unsettling for most, and tragic for others.
As we move forward, let us remember that Jesus will always meet us where we are, undaunted by locked door, or closed heart or corona virus.