Scripture: Lectionary # 45. 2 Sun. after Easter. Acts 4:32-35. Psalm 118:2-126.96.36.199-24. I John 5:1-6. John 20:19-31
The Apostle Thomas appears several times in the Gospel of John, but today’s reading is the most important one about this inquisitive and doubtful disciple of Jesus who helps us to believe more intensely in the Risen Lord. His final words are similar to the believing and non-doubting Martha who has expressed deep faith in Jesus and his power even over death, thus she anticipates resurrection faith in Jesus and helps us to do the same. (see John 11:26-27).
Thomas’ faith struggles about the Risen Jesus are solved when Jesus appears again to the apostles who are gathered in fear in a room with locked doors. Jesus hears the living voice of Jesus and sees the marks of his wounds. Jesus even invites him to touch the wound in his side. Tomas’ heart is overwhelmed and he bursts out with one of the greatest proclamations of Christian faith: “My Lord and My God!” Many of us Catholics were taught to express our faith with those words when the consecrated bread and the wine are lifted up by the priest. We say it quietly in our hearts and it helps us to be attentive to the Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Others say the Magnificat after receiving the precious blood and the holy body of the Lord. It is a perfect prayer of gratitude and thanksgiving. These devotions help us to penetrate more deeply the texts with the help of our heart and its emotions.
The ending of chapter 20 is also helpful for developing our faith. It acts like a bookend to the remarkable overview of the Gospel seen in the Prologue of John (John 1:1-18). It has these words that help us to understand the faith intention of the Evangelist and to make it our own: “Jesus performed many other signs—not recorded here—in the presence of his disciples. But these have been recorded to help you believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, so that through this faith you may have life in his name.” Chapter 21 gives us another insight into the purpose of this Gospel and emphasizes the value of witnessing to who Jesus is:It is this same disciple who is the witness to these things: it is he who wrote them down and his testimony (his witnessing), we know, is true. There are still many other things that Jesus did, yet if they were written about in detail, I doubt there would be room enough in the entire world to hold the books to record them.” (John 21:24-25).
We have in these bookends the key to how to interpret and understand the Gospel of John. No other Evangelist has shared his intention for writing so clearly as John. The divine inspiration of the Fourth Evangelist gives us the overview of his Gospel in the Prologue and the purpose of the Gospel in these two endings in chapter 20 and 21. We also see the content of the signs in chapters 1-12 which is called the Book of Signs; and the ultimate purpose of the Book of Glory in chapters 13-21 considered by readers as the Book of Glory. We learn that Jesus is both human and divine but above all like God the Father, Jesus is love. Amen. Alleluia. Alleluia.