Second Sunday Of Easter, March 30, 2008

Acts 2: 42 - 47

1 Peter 3: 1 - 9

John 20: 19 - 31

Word of Explanation:
The verb "to believe" often appears in the Gospel of St. John. It is accompanied by a series of formulas that explain it: to receive Jesus, to welcome, receive his witness, receive his words, come to him, listen to his voice, follow him, abide in him, abide in his love.

Faith, for John, is Christocentric: attachment to Christ. It is the gift of God that we have to accept, a way for us to walk

The Gospel presents Thomas, whose name means twin . Never is the name of this twin given, nor is he shown with his twin brother. If he has no concrete name, we can give him any name we wish. So, why not the name of the Gospels reader - ourselves? And what does this brother have to tell us?

The narrative relates that Thomas was not present when Jesus appeared in the midst of his companions, who were locked up in fear and walled in by the darkness of their understanding. To their fear and incredulity, Jesus opposes the peace that faith brings. If you do not believe, you will not withstand, the prophet Isaiah had said as he invited the People to absolute confidence in God (Is.7:9). Jesus shows them his hands and his side, the wounds of the Crucifixion. It is by death that he conquered death, not by being spared. What they took as failure was not the last word. The event has to be discerned differently. The disciples believe that the Crucified One is the Risen One.

Then they tell Thomas that they have seen the Lord. But Thomas does not want to simply hear the good news; he wants to reassure himself that the Risen Christ is clearly identifiable with the Crucified Christ. Jesus accepts his demand, warning him at the same time, "Do not be unbelieving but believing." The faith to which Thomas is called goes well beyond touching. "My Lord and my God," he exclaims as he is transformed by the liberating encounter with Jesus. Are we not called to confidence in the loving and transfiguring presence of the Risen Christ? Are we not called to perseverance in faith when we feel lost in darkness or when life tries us? On account of Gods promise, of Gods Word, all that bothers us, troubles us, makes us shrink back, amounts to nothing. Faith in Christ, who has metamorphosed death, invites us to fear no longer: "In all, we are the conquerors through the one who loved us." (Rom. 8 : 37)

The last word that Jesus addresses to Thomas is a blanket blessing: "Blessed are those who believe without seeing." This beatitude invites us to adopt this praiseworthy attitude, faith in the Risen Jesus. By calling us to faith, this Beatitude reminds us that the meaning of our life is found in God and not in ourselves. It is not the result of our reasoning but of our leap in faith, our acknowledgment that God created humankind in view of eternal life. By his death, Jesus has reduced death to powerlessness, in order to, as the Letter to the Hebrews attests, free those who were, during their entire lives, held in bondage by the fear of death. (Heb. 2:15) This is the happiness to which we are called!

We who have not seen, but have believed the witness of the Apostles, found our faith on the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. Let us pray for each other for this grace to trust in life and to let our relationship to death be transformed. Indeed, blessed be God, the Father of Jesus Christ our Lord: in his great mercy, He has given us rebirth through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ for a lively hope and for an inheritance which will not know destruction, nor stain, nor aging.

—Sr. Sophie Ramond, R.A.