Gospel Reflections

2nd Sunday of Easter

John 20:19-31

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Ellen Keane

Published: April 12, 2015

Read John 20:19-31

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... Read More…


Today we celebrate the encounter of Thomas and Jesus. I am sure we have all had the experience of being called a “doubting Thomas.” Generally this is a derogatory label, as if doubting was a sin, a flaw, a failure of faith. Yet I believe that Thomas’ doubts were pure gift…for he longed to experience the Risen Christ for himself. His doubts reveal to me one who questions, probes, does not rely on here-say, but in truth. He has a faith that is open to questioning to cloudiness and uncertainty… a faith that is alive.

Denise Levertov has a poem called St. Thomas Didymus* which speaks eloquently of one whose struggle with doubts and unanswered questions. These doubts lead him to the moment of encounter in the upper room. The following excerpt invites us into a powerful, wordless encounter and ritual in which Thomas’s thoughts are revealed:

…But when my hand

          led by His hand’s firm clasp

entered the unhealed wound,

          my fingers encountering

rib-bone and pulsing heat,

          what I felt was not

scalding pain, shame for my

          obstinate need,

but light, light streaming

          into me, over me, filling the room

as if I had lived till then

          in a cold cave, and now

coming forth for the first time,

          the knot that bound me unravelling,

I witnessed

          all things quicken to color, to form,

 my question

          not answered but given

                    its part

 in a vast unfolding design lit

                    by a risen sun.

*The Stream & the Sapphire: Denise Levertov

Like Thomas, may our doubts lead us to God.

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.”  When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. 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.”  And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 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.”

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.”   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.”  Thomas answered and said to him,  “My Lord and my God!”   Jesus said to him,  “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”  Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. 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. (John 20:19-31)

 

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