Acts of the Apostles 2:42-47
They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
1 Peter 1:3-9
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time. In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Gospel Cycle Cycle A
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 nailmarks 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.
It is very difficult for us to imagine the incredible change in these early believers. At first, so many of them felt really let down because Jesus had died. Everything seemed to be over. They had had enormous hopes in Jesus and now it all seemed empty.
Then! Then some of the believers began to report seeing Jesus, meeting Jesus, being away of Jesus—not dead, but alive. No one took them seriously at first, it seems. Thomas, the main character other than Jesus in today’s Gospel, certainly was not about to believe.
Even today, to believe in the resurrection of Jesus is a challenging act of faith. We must believe in these early witnesses because we ourselves did not have their experiences. Perhaps at other times in history, it was easier to believe. Now, we really want to test everything out for ourselves. We are not a people that believes easily in anything that cannot be tested. We really are so much like Thomas the Apostle!
Once people began to believe, then more began to believe through their speaking about their own experiences. So in the first reading today, from the Acts of the Apostles, we have the beginning of the descriptions of how these early believers lived: with incredible delight and joy in the resurrection of the Lord, with exultations and sincerity of heart. We can almost imagine them saying to themselves: it was not a fake! He really rose from the dead!
Each of us can have a little of that same feeling when we come to experience our own faith and when we can say to another person: I do believe! I believe that Jesus is God, that He died, that He was buried and that He rose from the dead!
Such faith has incredible power in every situation of our life. We see this reflected in today’s Gospel from Saint John. The life of Thomas the Apostle changes forever after he really meets the risen Lord. For us, there is the echo and the reality of the words of Jesus: “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
The First Letter of Saint Peter, part of which we have for our second reading today, reminds us that we must suffer for our faith. We can add also that we suffer trying to keep our faith. It is not easy to come to faith today and yet, for many of us, we cannot deny our faith.
May we be prepared in this Easter Season to speak openly about our faith and to say to others, when appropriate: “I do believe! I believe that Jesus is God. Jesus is my Lord and Savior.”