CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 August 2019

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Second Sunday of Easter - Kapayapaan mula kay Kristo!

WAS THOMAS REALLY the only one to had doubts, while the other disciples would have easily and immediately believed in the Risen One? It does not seem that things went that way.
 
The Gospel of Mark says that Jesus appeared to the eleven “and reproached them for their unbelief and stubbornness, in refusing to believe those who had seen him after he had risen” (Mk 16:14). In Luke’s Gospel, the Risen Christ addresses the amazed and frightened apostles and asks: “Why are you upset, and how does such an idea cross your minds?” (Lk 24:38) In the last page of the Matthew’s Gospel it even says that when Jesus appeared to the disciples on a mountain in Galilee (therefore long after the apparitions in Jerusalem), some still doubted (Mt 28:17).
 
All, therefore, doubted, not only the poor Thomas. How is it then that the evangelist John seems to want to focus on him the doubts that have gripped the others? Let us try to understand.
 
When John writes (about the year 95 A.D.) Thomas was already dead for some time. The episode, therefore, is certainly reported not to put this apostle in a bad light. If his problems of faith were highlighted, the reason is another. The evangelist wants to respond to the questions and objections that Christians of his communities insistently raised. 
 
It is the third-generation Christians, people who have not seen the Lord Jesus. They find it hard to believe; they are struggling in the midst of many doubts; they would like to see, touch, and verify if the Lord is truly risen. They ask,  are there evidences that he is alive? How is it that he no longer appears? These are the questions that we ourselves ask today.
 
To them, Mark, Luke, and Matthew respond by saying that all the apostles had hesitations . Whereas John takes Thomas as a symbol of the difficulty that every disciple meets to come to believe. 
 
What John wants to teach the Christians of his communities (and us) is that the Risen One has a life that escapes our senses; a life that cannot be touched with bare hands or seen with the eyes. It can only be achieved through faith. 
 
It seems that John enjoys outlining the figure of Thomas in this way. In the end, he does him justice. He puts on his mouth the highest, the most sublime profession of faith. My Lord and My God! His words reflect the conclusion of the disciples’ itinerary of faith.
 
Contrary to what one sees depicted in the paintings of the artists, not even Thomas has put his hands into the wounds of the Lord. From the text, it does not appear that he has touched the Risen One. He also gets to pronounce his profession of faith after hearing the voice of the Risen One, along with his brothers and sisters of the community. And the ability to make this experience is offered to Christians of all times… every eight days, on Sundays.
 
 
● Father Fernando Armellini SCJ
     Claretian Publications
     bibleclaret.org
 
Translated by Father John Ledesma SDB
Abridged by Father Jijo Kandamkulathy CMF