Acts of the Apostles 4:32-35
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.
1 John 5:1-6
Beloved: Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the Father loves also the one begotten by him. In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith. Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and blood. The Spirit is the one that testifies, and the Spirit is truth.
Gospel Cycle Cycle B
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.
Always we can enjoy the Sunday of Thomas! Thomas is so stubborn! He will not believe unless he himself has a personal experience. The miracle is that Jesus gives him that personal experience. It pays to be stubborn. At least some times.
We find ourselves with closed hearts from time to time. It is not easy to believe all that the Gospels and the Church tells us. Sometimes we long for some personal contact with a living God that will convince us. We should not be ashamed of this at all. It is part of the faith journey for some of us.
Just as we know that the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles tells us only a bit about the days of idealism in the early Christian community, so also we know from trying to deepen our own faith that the ideal is one thing and reality quite often something else.
Just as there is no perfect Christian community, neither is there a perfect way of believing. We find ourselves on the journey of faith, often a bit unsure of where it will take us. Perhaps as we mature, we have a better idea of the road. We just don’t always mature very fast.
The First Letter of John tells us that everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God. Jesus is the Anointed One. Jesus is the Savior. Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. These are all ways of our expressing that Jesus is the Christ. Sometimes it is fairly easy to believe all of that and at other times, it is a challenge. Faith can become a road to which we are accustomed. When we are young, we can become a bit anxious because doubts in our hearts and minds. As we mature, often we take such doubts as part of our journey and know that in time, they settle down.
The Scriptures today assure us that there can be an ideal, even if it does not last. The Scriptures also show us that aggressive questioning of belief such as we find in Thomas is also a way of walking the journey of faith.
We want to have life in the name of Christ. The way forward is simply to continue striving to live our faith, no matter how many questions we have or how unlikely our faith may seem. We can pray with Thomas: My Lord and my God! We can add: help us believe that completely.
Christ is risen! May Christ illumine us.