Second Sunday Of Easter (April 23, 2017)
Nicknames can be cute, but sometimes they are far from that; they can be downright demeaning. “Doubting Thomas” is an age old nickname for an apostle who, previous today’s episode, proved himself to be a searcher of truth and the apostle who on hearing of Jesus’ possible trouble by going to Jerusalem, said, “let us also go, that we may die with him.” Why was he not known as “Thomas the searcher” or “Thomas the bold?”
Truth to tell, Thomas did nothing more than ask for physical evidence, the kind of evidence that the other apostles enjoyed. He happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
During this time of the liturgical year, our first reading does not come from the Old Testament, but from the Acts of the Apostles - a chronicle by Luke of the earliest days of the Christian community in the aftermath of the resurrection. It tells of what difference the resurrection made in the community members’ lives.
Today, we hear about the praying, caring and sharing Jerusalem community that gathered to break bread [celebrate Eucharist]. They were trying a different way of living and working together. In just a few chapters, we shall hear others quarreling over who is getting more attention than whom, what some leaders are saying that is different from other leaders.
On balance, thousands came to the Lord.
How about us? What difference has the resurrection really made in our lives in the last week? Who among us cannot say we have not seen the lord? It is probably not through a weeping statue or a miraculous smell of roses, but haven’t we seen him in his care for us, seen him in a miraculous recovery from an accident of someone we know? Haven’t we seen him in someone who has turned his/her life around after a painful divorce? A sudden death? A terrible loss?
Haven’t we marveled at the wisdom that springs from the mouth of a child? From our own mouth at times we didn’t know what to say and whispered an urgent prayer . . . and it worked? Haven’t we felt his presence as we prayed, as we sang in a moving liturgy?
We have seen him.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus said: “ as the father has sent me, so I send y ou. What Thomas encountered in the locked room did not stay there. The apostles spread the good news as they were directed . . . To Rome, to Greece, to Eastern Europe. Tradition has it that Thomas carried the good news even to India.
We need to witness, too. We need to be contagiously enthusiastic. The name for this is evangelization. Too often we associate this word with TV, preachers and snake oil religion. Evangelization simply means us telling the good news.
I invite you to celebrate the resurrection with something more substantial than frothy egg nag and possibly a new outfit - to reach out to someone with the good news of the resurrection. To offer someone the life of the risen Jesus, the compassion of Jesus Christ.