10 April 2010

'My Lord and my God' - Second Sunday of Easter Year C


New American Bible (Philippines, USA)

Jerusalem Bible (Australia, England & Wales, Ireland, Scotland)

Gospel (Jn 20, 19-31, NAB)

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
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.”

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to 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 into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”

Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.


I often think that St Thomas gets a ‘poor press’. He has entered English vocabulary – I’m not sure about other languages – as ‘Doubting Thomas’. Yet he makes the most explicit act of faith found in the Bible: ‘My Lord and my God’. In Ireland this is used as one of the acclamations after the Consecration.

Thomas recognized the Risen Lord in his scars. Jesus carries those scars for all eternity. In St Joseph’s Chapel, Espinos Village, Bacolod City, where I usually celebrate Mass Tuesday through Saturday, there is a large statue of the Risen Lord behind the altar. It struck me one day that there was something wrong with it: there were no scars on the hands and feet of Jesus. That has been rectified, though they look more like wounds than scars.

Many of us were moved by the wrinkles on the face of Blessed Mother Teresa (photo) in her latter days. These were the ‘scars’ of love.

Rembrandt, in his Return of the Prodigal Son, captures the suffering of the father, rather than his joy, in the sadness on his face, the ‘scar’ of love.

It’s through our own suffering, in whatever form it comes, that we get some understanding of the sufferings of others. It was through the sudden death of my mother 40 years ago this coming 29 April that I realized in my heart rather than in my head that the Lord is truly risen.

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