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.
Unless I see, I will not believe. That is so like many of us. We want to see, we want physical proofs, we want physical miracles that don’t allow disbelief. Blesses are those who have not seen and have believed.
Each of us has a path to faith is his or her life. Faith is a truly personal gift and the choice to accept faith as a gift is also very personal. These first Christians seem to have evangelized by the way the lived together. When we hear the first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles, it seems to paint such a wonderful picture of the harmony of the early Christian community.
We know, however, from the Acts itself and from the letters of Saint Paul that life was not always harmonious. It was and is a struggle to live in a community completely devoted to Jesus Christ, whether that is a family community, a parish community or a religious community or some other type of community. It is just not easy to live together.
Yet it is right at the point of conflict in any community that we are invited to put our finger into the wound and to believe. As we meditate on the death and resurrection of the Lord, it was not something beautiful, but something almost obscene. It was not glory moving to resurrection but humiliation. When we meet up with defects and sins and ugliness in community, we are walking the way of the Cross and we must believe that out of the defects, sins and ugliness, God still is forming and bringing about resurrection.
The First Letter of Peter tells us today that in his great mercy God gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the same message as from the Acts of the Apostles. We must learn how to place all that seems broken in the hands of a living and loving God, and believe that God is making beauty, goodness and love from it. As we begin to believe, we not only soften, we come to be like Saint Thomas the Apostle: just a little embarrassed because we had doubted so much.
Let us pray today that we can resolutely look at all that seems sinful, ugly, not of God, destructive and so on—and yet embrace it all as part of God’s creation and know that in our faith, God is transforming us and our world. Let us believe in resurrection because Christ is truly risen.