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Tag Archives: THOMAS – APOSTLE & MARTYR

JOHN 20:28-29 (Today’s Gospel Reading: John 20:19-31)

Jakarta, 24 April 2022 [SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER – YEAR C]

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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MY LORD AND MY GOD!

MY LORD AND MY GOD!

(A biblical refection on THE SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER [YEAR B] – 11 April 15 2021)

[Sunday of Divine Mercy]

Gospel Reading: John 20:19-31

First Reading: Acts 4:32-35; Psalms: Psalm 118:2-4,16-18,22-24; Second Reading: 1 John 5:1-6

The Scripture Text

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any they are retained.”

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But He said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in His side, I will not believe.”

Eight days later, His disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side; do not be faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:19-31 RSV)

How fortunate for us that Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus first appeared!  In Thomas’ delayed encounter with Jesus, we get a glimpse of how Jesus looked at Thomas – and looks at all of His people.

What would we have said to Thomas if we had been Jesus? Would we have berated him for not believing Jesus’ words about His coming death and resurrection? Would we have chided him for not trusting the other apostles’ testimony? Would we have seen him as a failure who lacked the faith needed to carry on the teaching of the Gospel?

Throughout scripture, faith in God stands out as a vital “testing point” for the people of God. In the creation story, Adam and Eve “failed” the test when they placed more faith in the serpent’s words than in God’s (Genesis 3:1-6). Abraham, on the other hand, pleased God by his decision, in faith, to offer up his son Isaac (Genesis 22:1-8).

Our lives probably contain many “testing points”. They can take the form of financial obligations, medical concerns, strained relationships, or the loss of a loved one. While outwardly we profess that we believe Jesus is in control, inwardly – like Thomas – we demand solutions that we can see and feel and touch. It is at times like these that we can remember how lovingly Jesus came to Thomas and invited him to reach out and know His touch.

Thomas is the bridge between the first apostles and all the generations that would come after them. His story shows us that Jesus can speak to us just as He spoke to Thomas. We do not have to be at the right place at the right time; we do not always have to have the proper response. Jesus will search us out and offer His love to us. All He asks is that we give Him the chance to show us that He is real and that His love for us is not just an abstract concept, but the most powerful force in all of creation. Like Thomas, we can proclaim: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, we are grateful that You do not come to condemn us, but to meet us where we are. We ask that You touch our lives in such a way that when we meet our own “testing points”, we will remain open to Your love and allow You to work even more deeply within us. Amen.

Jakarta, 10 April 2021 [SATURDAY OF THE OCTAVE OF EASTER]

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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MY LORD AND MY GOD

MY LORD AND MY GOD

(A biblical reflection on THE SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER [YEAR C] – 28 April 2019)

[SUNDAY OF DIVINE MERCY]

Gospel Reading: John 20:19-31 

First Reading: Acts 5:12-16; Psalms: Psalm 118:2-4,16-18,22-27; Second Reading: Revelation 1:9-13,17-19 

The Scripture Text

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any they are retained.”

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But He said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in His side, I will not believe.”

Eight days later, His disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side; do not be faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:19-31 RSV)

In the resurrection stories in John’s Gospel, the author emphasizes the physical characteristics of Jesus’ resurrected body. He does so because some early Christians questioned the idea of bodily resurrection and said that what the apostles really saw was Jesus’ spirit or ghost, not His physical body. Responding to these beliefs, the author of the fourth Gospel was careful to point out that the resurrected Jesus had flesh and bone and that He ate and drank. He wanted to make it clear that the resurrected body was none other than the crucified one.

Today’s Gospel begins with all of the apostles except Thomas hiding in a locked room in fear that they would be arrested and killed just as Jesus was. Without warning, Jesus appears in their midst even though the windows and doors are bolted shut. The apostles cannot believe it! They saw Him crucified and they saw Him die but now He is alive once again!

When Thomas returns, the apostles excitedly tell him all about their experience with the risen Jesus but he refuses to believe them without first putting his fingers in the nail marks in Jesus’ hands and in the wound in Jesus’ side. Notice that Thomas doesn’t say anything about nail marks in Jesus’ feet, possibly because the Romans may have used ropes instead of nails to affix a criminal’s feet to the cross. Therefore, there wouldn’t have been any nail marks in Jesus’ feet for Thomas to examine.

Thomas didn’t accept what the other apostles told him until he saw Jesus himself. The nail marks and the other wounds were the proof he needed to believe the resurrected Jesus was neither a ghost nor the product of imagination but rather the same Jesus who died on the cross.

Although we will always remember Thomas as the one who doubted, he was actually one of the bravest and most loyal of the apostles. In John 11, there’s a story about Jesus was on His way to Bethany even though He knew there were some men in that city who wanted to kill Him. Thomas recognized the potential danger but didn’t back away from it; he suggested that he and the other apostles go with Jesus so they could die with Him. Whatever Thomas’ faults were, cowardice wasn’t one of them.

Many times we are like Thomas, wanting to see before we believe. Is there anything in Christianity that we (you and I) have difficulty believing? Let’s take our doubts and questions to Jesus in prayer and ask Him to help us believe.

(Adapted from Jerome J. Sabatowich, Cycling Through the Gospels – Gospel Commentaries for Cycles A, B, and C, pages 260-261.)

Prayer: Jesus, You are my loving Lord and Savior. I long to see Your face. Heal my unbelief, so that I can bow before You and proclaim, “My Lord and My God”. Amen.

Jakarta, 27 April 2019 

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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