Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe
Gospel Reflection for 2nd Sunday Easter Year C – April 7th 2013
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on our parish website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
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.
Jesus spoke in short sentence and summed up a lot of life in a few words. His final beatitude is in the gospel today – Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe. You can unpack that little phrase and in it you realise that faith is about things that cannot be proved, that it is not easy, and that it brings a blessedness to life. It also includes ourselves – the ones of 2013 who still believe
Something is only by faith when everything else fades off. Our loved ones die and only faith assures us that they are alive with God. Only faith assures us that Jesus is present in the mystery of the bread and wine at our Mass. Only faith assures us that he is with us when two or three gather and only faith assures us that what we for other we do for him. Faith assures us of some of the best things of life, finally that we come from God and go to God.
Thomas found difficulty with all this. Jesus dealt gently with him, pointing out the wounds of his body and inviting him to touch them. But Thomas never needed to touch the holes in Jesus’ hands and feet. He was told that an even better happiness was to believe without touch or sight. He found faith now in the risen Lord, and the faith itself was Jesus’ final gift to Thomas.
We need to take time and let faith grow within us. This can be in prayer, in faith-conversation and in allowing ourselves sit quietly and be in the presence of God. In the busy world, this may be difficult, but no day is diminished by time we spend in silence and in quiet, knowing we are richly blessed when we grow our faith in God.
Lord, I believe in your presence with me and within me. Strengthen my belief.
Donal Neary SJ