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Second Sunday of Easter (Year C)

April 28, 2019

John 20, 19-31


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 nail marks 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 believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.




Often Christians are simply called believers. The core of being a Christian is believing in Jesus Christ and living that faith. Easter highlights faith. Every Easter season we read the Gospel of the unbelieving Thomas who in the end confessed his faith in the Risen Jesus: “My Lord and my God.” Listening to the Gospel has only one aim: “That you may believe.”

How did Thomas come from doubt to faith? Jesus explains: “You believe because you have seen.” Seen, that is, he had the spectacular experience of touching and seeing Jesus alive. Others have also seen, e.g. in that their prayers were granted through a miracle. But Jesus right away adds that there are other ways. “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” This is the ordinary way to faith, the way of most of us. For instance, reliable witnesses, our parents, have told us, or we have met strong and happy people who are believers, and so we, too, believe. Or, reflecting deeply on everything in my life, I am convinced that “God is real; he loves me.” Believing “without seeing”, that is, without microscope or telescope or spectacular events. But having eyes of faith, “as if we could see the invisible.”

Faith is a journey, beset by difficulties and trials. Thomas took the step from unbelief to faith. If you find it hard to believe, take at least a first step. Mother Teresa once indicated the following steps to faith: Silence leads to prayer; prayer leads to faith. We can start anywhere, even if we can only shout” “Are you there, God?”

Faith is like “walking on water”, which was the title of a video on prayer and faith. Sometimes the difficulty comes from outside, for instance persecution of believers. That happened to San Lorenzo Ruiz. Or an indifferent atmosphere stifles faith. But most often trials of faith come from within ourselves. Thomas doubted. We may put our faith aside, because we feel tired, disappointed or lazy to live it. At times, we doubt whether faith is worth all the effort.

Do we get anything out of faith? Does it have any value? The last phrase of the Gospel says Yes. “Through faith you have life.” Faith enables us to master our life and reach the unending happy life. Faith gives courage and endurance. It makes life worth living.

Saint Arnold Janssen, a simple priest and great promoter of world mission is described as “humble in success, strong in trials.” He was such because he was a man of faith. Blessed, indeed, are those who believe!


By Fr. Bubi Scholz SVD