Second Sunday of Easter
SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER
Now the then we read of the disappearance of children in the newspapers, and it really shocks everyone. It is only too common – and it is tragic, in the fact that they are rarely found. But now and then we hear, or read, of an adult who disappears.
There was a case of such an adult in Nigeria, when I was stationed there. I lived in the city of Ibadan – about 5 million people. In this case, a man named Patrick left his parent’s home to go the large university town of Ile-Ife – about a two hour drive from Ibadan. He said that he would be back in the evening. Well, night came, and Patrick did not return. The following day calls were made, questions were asked of friends, but no one seemed to have seen Patrick nor did they know anything about him.
After a number of months there was still now news of Patrick. The hope that his parents had been holding on to was fading fast. Then one day someone said that they thought they had seen Patrick in Ile-Ife, near the university… just recently. They weren’t sure, but they lost him in the crowded city.
Can it be true – the mother thought? Her husband thought it best not to get their hopes up. They had gone thru too much pain all this time, and it was better to just accept the fact that Patrick was gone for good.
Then the next day Patrick walked into their house. It seems that he had been in an auto accident and was pretty well banged up. He had lost his memory as a result of the accident, and the past was coming back to him only little by little. Just recently he finally remembered where he was from and where his folks lived.
We can all feel something of the sad situation of those parents in Ibadan – as they prayed day in and day out – but gradually they head to accept the fact that their son was gone, probably dead. They lost all hope. Then hope is given to them – but they are afraid to reach out to it — and be disappointed again. They want to believe, but they were not able to.
It is very much the same situation we meet in the Gospel today. Thomas stands before Peter and the apostles and they are telling him that they have actually seen Jesus. Thomas shakes his head….it is not possible! Thomas saw him die on the cross, ( from a safe distance of course), and he saw them put the dead body in the tomb. Now they are trying to tell him that he is alive and showing himself to people!
Thomas had had enough. He to, like them, had believed that Jesus was somebody very special. But the cross had crushed out all the hopes that he had. Why didn’t Jesus do something to escape the terrible suffering and death of the cross?
I am sure Thomas turned to his brother apostles and begged them to not hurt him by telling stories that were not true. By getting his hopes up, and then crushing them again.
Let’s not be too hard on Thomas…don’t judge him too quickly. Each of us would probably react in the same way. But then….all of a sudden, Jesus is standing in front of them. I think that alone would throw you into confusion. Jesus tells Thomas…”Come, put your finger here – look at my hands. Give me your hand and put it into my side. DOUBT NO LONGER THOMAS, BUT BELIEVE.”
From that moment, Thomas became a completely different kind of man. Life would never be the same again for him. He had actually seen, and touched the Risen Lord.
What about us? We cannot see or touch the Lord, but we are asked to believe. That is why, at every Mass, we read about Jesus. That is why the Gospels were written. As John says in his gospel: SO THAT YOU MAY BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST – THAT HE IS THE RISEN LORD.
Thomas became a believer. Not just in truths and teachings, but in SOMEONE…I.E. THE RISEN LORD. That same Risen Lord is present in any and every situation of my own life today. If you believe, great things can and will happen in your lives. Don’t just believe me… believe the Risen Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.