Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gospel for Sunday 15 April 2012

John 20:19-31
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." 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 them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, 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 the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, 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. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." 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 have come to believe."
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.


  1. I spent most of my adult life living in Santa Fe, NM, a place well known for its opera, and art and green chili. It is less well known for some of its eccentricities.

    At certain times of the year a particular lentil shaped cloud – sort of a stretched out parabola – can be spotted hanging over the Sangre de Cristo mountains. These clouds are sleek and beautiful, though not very friendly to pilots. There is a particular group of local residents who, when they gaze into the sky and spot one of the larger lentil clouds, believe they are seeing flying saucers. I can assure you that more than eleven of these believers have assured me, “We have seen flying saucers.” And my response, “Unless they land right here in front of me and I can touch them and shake hands (or whatever) with whoever is flying them, I will not believe.”

    So when Thomas says to his eleven friends who claimed to have seen the risen Lord, “ Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my fingers in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe,” I get it. Doubt.

    Doubt is sort of a state of suspended animation. Doubt is hanging out in the gap between belief and disbelief. Doubt questions reality, wants to see and touch and know something more before it decides which way to go. Doubt weighs the balance between belief and disbelief.

    When we, like Thomas, bring doubt to our Christian narrative there is something really important at stake. Our choice to believe or disbelieve will determine whether we move closer to or further away from God. And in the end there is just one thing. It is our choice to believe or to disbelieve. Do you believe?

  2. What I like in this text is the way Jesus accepts the expressions of faith of all. I read his reply to Thomas as acceptance of Thomas' kind of believing. He received the enthusiastic belief of the disciples the previous Sunday. He welcomes the way of believing of those who do not see and yet believe. I am in the last group. I am blessed. So are you, whoever you are, whatever your kind of believing.
    [Written from Switzerland, anticipating preaching the text on Sunday.]