Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Gospel text for Sunday, 27 April 2014

John 20:19-31        When it was evening on the day of Resurrection, 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.
Reflection       Don't you want to ‘see’ Jesus as did Mary Magdalene in the garden? Don’t you want Jesus to find you when you are locked into your own fear (as were the disciples in the upper room)? Don’t you want to feel Jesus breathe on you and receive his peace? Don’t you want to have your own experience of the risen Christ? Like Peter, don’t you want to put your fingers in Jesus’ wounds but wonder if perhaps you have shown up too late? 
For most of us, seeing is believing. So the question is, what are we looking for? If we insist on ‘seeing’ the physical body of Jesus and demand to put our fingers into his bloody wounds there is every chance we will be disappointed. But if we open the eyes of our hearts to see beyond the veil of flesh we will confess resurrection life abounds around us. 
You see, Easter services are not mere memorials of a singular resurrection event that happened two thousand years ago. Easter celebrates our whole new reality; we are Easter people. We live resurrection life now.   What does it mean to live out of this new reality? I believe Thomas puts his finger on it when he responds to the risen Jesus saying, “My Lord and my God!” The pivotal word  in that sentence is “my.”  Thomas is claiming his relationship, his very personal relationship with the risen Jesus. He takes possession of Jesus. Jesus is his Lord, his God. It is all about relationship and relationship is here and now, embodied in the life of people who claim God as their own. 
Every time we experience healing or forgiveness, peace in the midst of fear or uncertainty, hope in the face of grave news, restored relationships, revived churches, a glimmer of light in the midst of a dark, dark night, we experience resurrection life. Resurrection life is now. Every time we reach out and put our fingers into our own wounds, our loved ones wounds, the wounds of our communities and our world and offer peace, comfort or hope we are embodying resurrection life. Alleluia, Christ is risen, in every generation. Resurrection life is eternally now.

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