Gospel Reflection for Second Sunday of Easter Year C – April 3rd 2016
In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.
‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’
After saying this he breathed on them and said:
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’
Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him:
‘You believe because you can see me.
Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’
There were many other signs that Jesus worked and the disciples saw, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.
There is a story about St. Christopher, maybe more legend than truth, which runs this way:
As a youth, Christopher was gifted in every way, except faith. He was generous, using his physical strength to help others. His one fault was that he found it hard to believe in God.
FINDING FAITH IN LOVE
This, however, did not prevent him from using his gifts, especially his physical strength, to serve others. He became a ferryboat operator, spending his life helping to carry people across a dangerous river. One night, so the legend goes, during a storm, the ferryboat capsized and Christopher dived into the dark waters to rescue a young child. Carrying that child to the shore, he looked into its face and saw there the face of Christ. After that he believed, for he had seen the face of Christ. The very name, Christopher, contains the legend. Christopher means Christ-bearer.
Fact or fiction? In either case, the story contains a profound lesson. It gives us an answer, to a difficult questions of all: What should we do when our faith is weak? Christopher’s answer? Live as honestly and respectfully as you can and use your gifts to help others. Help others especially the poor. God will appear. Faith is not so much a question of feeling as of selfless service.
I wonder did Thomas find faith because he rejoined the apostles? When he came back. did he see the faith in the eyes of his friends and then was ready to believe again? In the community of the people he found the Lord. Often our faith is shallow, wobbly. Love can bring faith alive.
In my love, O Lord, may I find faith in you.
Donal Neary SJ
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger