Gospel – 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 come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
Reflection on the Gospel
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
In today’s reading, the disciples are gathered behind locked doors. They have seen things that have scared them silent. They have seen their friend and teacher Jesus tortured and put to death. In their anxiety and fear, they huddle together behind closed doors. Jesus appears to them and speaks directly to their fears. “Peace be with you.” Jesus knows his friends need some assurance and some comfort. So he says it twice.
After spending some time with them, showing them his wounds, Jesus reminds his friends they must now continue the work. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Even Thomas (our “twin?”) comes to believe after seeing with his own eyes. Through this faith, the disciples and all of us are promised “life in his name.”
Those of us who have been teaching for longer than a year have probably seen things that have scared us. We have worried about they young men and women entrusted to our care. We have walked with them as they’ve experienced loss and death through divorce, family transitions, addiction, physical and mental illnesses, and betrayals of all kinds. The Risen Jesus says to them and to us as we walk with them, “Peace be with you.” And in case we do not believe him, he says it twice.
Years ago, when I first started teaching, after a particularly unsettling day, I turned to a colleague in my confusion and exhaustion. Her advice to me: Make sure to pray for your students. Think of their faces and names at night as you drift off to sleep. I am embarrassed to say, I had never thought of doing this on my own.
That was twenty years ago. Still to this day, when I am tempted to hole up and hide in fear and worry about all the death and loss around me, I think of my students’ names and faces and lift them up to our Father. I entrust them (and me) to Him.
Like the disciples in their amazement, I am always surprised when the peace comes. In the light of a new day, I am sent out again. As one who has experienced “life in his name,” I can’t help but share that faith with others. In the classroom, on retreat, at a Christian Service site, in my office, Jesus sends me (and you) out and promises us peace.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts – Forever.
Ms. Christine Estes – Director of Campus Ministry
La Salle Academy – Providence, RI