Acts of the Apostles 5:12-16
Many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles. They were all together in Solomon’s portico. None of the others dared to join them, but the people esteemed them. Yet more than ever, believers in the Lord, great numbers of men and women, were added to them. Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them. A large number of people from the towns in the vicinity of Jerusalem also gathered, bringing the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits, and they were all cured.
Revelation 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19
I, John, your brother, who share with you the distress, the kingdom, and the endurance we have in Jesus, found myself on the island called Patmos because I proclaimed God’s word and gave testimony to Jesus. I was caught up in spirit on the Lord’s day and heard behind me a voice as loud as a trumpet, which said, “Write on a scroll what you see.” Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me, and when I turned, I saw seven gold lampstands and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, wearing an ankle-length robe, with a gold sash around his chest. When I caught sight of him, I fell down at his feet as though dead. He touched me with his right hand and said, “Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the netherworld. Write down, therefore, what you have seen, and what is happening, and what will happen afterwards.”
Gospel Cycle Cycle C
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.
Once the reality of the Resurrection touched the lives of the early followers of Jesus, they could not keep silent about His presence in their lives. They had to talk about him among themselves and to others. What had happened was just so startling and so compelling that they could not be still. They had to share this presence of Jesus in their lives.
We who come so many years after the Resurrection must have some encounter with the Risen Lord. Once we let Him touch our lives, we are never the same. It is so incredible to know Jesus and to believe in His life, death and Resurrection. We also must feel this impulse to share our experience of Him at work in our lives. It is different from the experience of these early followers who ate, drank, walked and talked personally with Jesus. Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.
When we read the Scriptures, we come into contact with the witness of these early believers. We are invited to believe because of their witness. Perhaps their witness sounds naïve or simple to us. On the other hand, they were ordinary people, workers, outcasts, fishermen, tax collectors, women with bad reputations, etc. Just ordinary people who met Jesus and whose lives were changed forever.
Many of us have walked with the Jesus for years and years and have never felt the excitement that these earlier follows felt. On the other hand, many of them also seem not to have been terribly moved at first. Think of Saint Peter or of Saint Thomas, who shows up in the Gospel today. These are people that perhaps we can identify with. Peter who is such an enthusiast and yet denies knowing the Lord. Thomas who uses big words to show that he won’t believe easily and then is embarrassed when Jesus asks him to believe.
We need never be afraid of our own weaknesses, our doubts or our rejections of the Lord. Always He continues to love us. Always He finds new ways to sneak into our hearts and our minds. If we have walked with Him, then we can look at our history with Him and see what has happened in our lives. In many relationships we can feel that nothing changes. When we look back, however, we find that things are always changing.
This is Divine Mercy Sunday, Thomas Sunday and the Octave of Easter. We can hear the echo of the Book of Revelation in our own lives: Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever.
Let us renew our faith, as did Thomas. Let us believe in the Lord and reflect on all that He has done already within us. Let us be open to let Him surprise us again if we will just invite Him into hearts once more. Christ is risen! Alleluia.