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Second Sunday of Easter


Second Sunday of Easter B
1. Today’s Gospel has been labeled the “Doubting Thomas” story, but Thomas is not the only one
who was having doubts. Furthermore, there is something else going on here behind the scenes:
– The Gospel of John was written by disciples of the apostle John, who collected his teachings and published them
about 60 years after the death of Jesus. The early church was not much different that our churches today: even
among the first Christians there were conflicts divisions, and disagreements
– From ancient documents, we know of a conflict between the disciples of John and the disciples of Thomas. And
so, this Gospel, composed by John’s disciples, makes Thomas look bad. What a surprise!
– However, Thomas was not the only one who had doubts about Jesus’ resurrection. They all did. Look at the first
paragraph of today’s selection: Jesus showed up even as the doors were locked, told his disciples “Peace be
with you”, and then proceeded to show them the wounds from the crucifixion.
– Why would he do that, without being prompted? Chances are that somebody said something like, “this can’t be
the same guy who was crucified the other day…” So he showed all of them his wounds.
– Most likely, they all had doubts, and had to make sure they were seeing Jesus, and not seeing a ghost.

2. Thomas was not there, why not? For centuries commentators have speculated that Thomas,
after the death of Jesus might have been drifting away. But there is no evidence of that in the
– All that the Gospels say is that the Apostles were afraid of the leaders of the Jews, and locked themselves in a
room. Maybe Thomas was not as scared as the other guys, maybe he was the only one who had the courage to
venture out. Maybe he went to buy some food for everyone… We just don’t know.
– Thomas did not believe the other disciples when they told him that Jesus had been there, and stated that he
would have to inspect Jesus wounds before believing that Jesus had been raised from the dead. Isn’t that what
everyone else had done? After all, resurrection is not something that occurs every day!

3. A week later, Thomas was with the group and Jesus showed up again.
– This time he called Thomas and told him, “put your finger in my wounds, and check them out” and Thomas did
that, and then said something that none of the disciples had ever done before. He called Jesus ” My Lord and
my God”.
– Here is a question for you, “How many times is Jesus called God in the Gospel? Only once, here, by Thomas.
The disciples were Jews, and for Jews, there was only one God and he was in heaven.
– The idea that someone who looked and acted like a regular human being could be called God was
unconceivable for Jews. Thomas was the first to have that intuition and to believe that Jesus was God.

Second Sunday of Easter B
4. To believe is to take somebody’s word for something we ourselves have not seen and cannot
check out. So, faith is not just a religious thing. We rely on faith everyday in our life.
–.How many here have seen Greenland? Or Australia? Or Timbuktu? How do you know that these places
really exist? You might have have seen pictures of them on the Internet or in books or magazines. But
ultimately if you have never been there you have to trust someone else who has been there and tells you
that these pictures are real and not Photoshop.
–.Modern science is so complex that we couldn’t possibly investigate everything and know everything first
hand. So we trust the opinion of experts, teachers, doctors… You and I couldn’t possibly know the best
medicine for all the diseases. We have to trust the people who know about these matters.
–.Heck, we even trust politicians to make the best possible decisions for our country and state and town…
And we all know how trustworthy politicians can be.
–.So, relying on faith and trusting others for many important things in our lives, is a part of our daily life.

5. But, is faith in God the same as the faith we have in scientists, teachers, doctors, or geography
books? Faith in God is a bit different.
–. All of the things I have described so far are material. If we took the time and trouble to travel or study or
experiment, we could verify whether or not they are telling us the truth
–. God, on the other hand is not something material that we can see or touch or discover him scientifically
by looking through a microscope, or through a telescope for that matter.
–. God is spirit. God is all around us and also inside us, and yet we cannot see, touch, smell God with our
senses. We know God through faith and experience. So what is faith in God?

a. According to the Gospel, faith is a gift from God. We would never think of believing in God
unless he calls us by putting in us a desire to find him.
–.Last week I was talking to a person who told me she lives in the neighborhood and has always has a desire
to check out this church. That curiosity, that desire is God’s call. Others feel oppressed by problems and
challenges and have a need to find peace. This interest, this desire to check something out, this
dissatisfaction with the way things are is God calling us and giving us the gift of faith.

Second Sunday of Easter B
b. But gifts can be accepted or rejected. God does not shove faith down our throat.
– We have all received gifts we didn’t like. And even though we politely said, “Thank you very much, this is
really nice” we end up getting rid of the stuff.
– God calls us all the time through the events of our lives. By calling us God gives us the chance to believe.
But we are free to say yes or no, or not now, or maybe later…. So to believe, we must be willing to
accept God’s invitation. We must be willing to be open to God and to trust God

c. But many of us, like Thomas and the other disciples, struggle with doubts. It is
important to remember that to have faith is not the same as never to have any
– All reasonable human beings, when facing something that doesn’t make sense have questions and
doubts. That ability to question and doubt is what we call intelligence. We have a need to verify, check
things out. But eventually there will always be things we do not understand, and so we end up trusting
people who care for us.
– As I have already indicated, religious doubts cannot be resolved scientifically. But, if we accept the gift of
faith, we will experience the hand of God in our lives, and that will help us overcome doubts. Ultimately,
Christian faith is based on experienced the power of God in our lives.
– When the Apostles experienced the power of the risen Christ in their lives, they were transformed, and
became unstoppable.
– But, to experience God we must make a “leap of faith”, we must accept his gift of faith and trust him like
a child trusts his or her parents. When Thomas finally believed, he had the most important insight of all
the disciples and understood that Jesus was God
– If we are here today, it is because God has called each of us, in in our own unique way we managed to say
yes to God, to accept the gift of faith and trust God
– If we have faith, and truly trust in God the way a young child trusts that his parents will take care of his
needs, we too will be changed as the disciples were changed by Jesus’ resurrection.