Today is the Second Sunday of Easter: the Octave of Easter. We celebrate it in a festive manner with the singing of the Sequence (as we did on Easter Sunday) and the Solemn Dismissal with double Alleluia! The Gospel passage from Saint John recounts two appearances of Jesus to the disciples, a week apart, after his Resurrection. Thomas is absent at the first appearance but is present at the second. The story is familiar: after Jesus’ first appearance, the disciples relate the event to Thomas. He says: “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.” When Jesus appears again, he invites Thomas to do so. Thomas responds, “My Lord and my God!” I read an interesting reflection on this Gospel passage that I would like to share with you. It was written by Saint John Chrysologus, a Bishop and Doctor of the Church, who lived in the late 4th and early 5th centuries.
“Why does the hand of a faithful disciple in this fashion retrace those wounds that an unholy hand inflicted? Why does the hand of a dutiful follower strive to reopen the side that the lance of an unholy soldier pierced? Why does the harsh curiosity of a servant repeat the tortures imposed by the rage of persecutors? Why is a disciple so inquisitive about proving from his torments that he is the Lord, for his pains that he is God, and from his wounds that he is the heavenly Physician?...
Why, Thomas, do you alone, a little too clever a sleuth for your own good, insist that only the wounds be brought forward in testimony to faith? What if these wounds would have been made to disappear with the other things? What a peril to your faith would that curiosity have produced? Do you think that no signs of his devotion and no evidence of the Lord’s resurrection could be found unless you probed with your hands his inner organs that had been laid bare with such cruelty?
Brothers [and sisters], his devotion sought these things, his dedication demanded them so that in the future not even godlessness itself would doubt that the Lord had risen. But Thomas was curing not only the uncertainty of his own heart but also that of all human beings. And since he was going to preach this message to the Gentiles, this conscientious investigator was examining carefully how he might provide a foundation for the faith needed for such a mystery…For the only reason the Lord had kept his wounds was to provide evidence of his resurrection.”
Please join us for Easter Season Evening Prayer this Tuesday at 6:30 PM.
Blessings on these Easter Days!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ