Second Sunday of Easter Time
[Scripture Readings: Acts 5:12-16; Rev 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19; Jn 20:19-31]
Today is the Second Sunday of Easter, the last day of the eight days of the Easter Octave. It is also called Thomas Sunday because the Easter appearance of the Risen Lord to St. Thomas is read every year on this Sunday.
The gospels of Matthew Mark and Luke all mention Thomas as one the Twelve, but give no specific role to Thomas.
St. John gives us a bit more clarity about him. When the sisters Mary and Martha inform Jesus and the disciples that their brother Lazarus has died it is Thomas who says to the other disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” It is also Thomas who says to our Lord, “We do not know where you are going. How can we know the way,” And our Lord explains how only he is the way to the Father: “I am the way the truth and the Life.” And St. John also relates that Thomas was one of those our Lord appeared to on the Sea of Tiberias, when some of the disciples went fishing. And then fourthly in today's gospel.
So we ask again what is Thomas for us in today's Eucharist. He Is and maybe unfairly, associated with doubting, although we hear in the other resurrection gospels that other disciples doubted, But the finger is pointed at Thomas and we still might hear the expression “Doubting Thomases.”
There must have been some heated discussion among the disciples that is unrecorded by St. John in his Gospel, because as we just heard in the gospel, all that the other disciples said to Thomas was, “We have seen the Lord.” His answer to them sounds as if he is just a bit angry, maybe a bit hurt, and maybe even a bit jealous to be left out one of the most momentous events in history. He might have even walked into some serious celebrating by the other disciples when they first found out the Lord was still alive. And Thomas answers, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
So again who is Thomas for us here today at this Eucharist? He is someone who was absent. He is someone like us who is at times absent, absent with distractions, absent because of worry, absent because of temptations. Absent in body, maybe. But like us here today more often absent in mind or absent in spirit. And Thomas does not really doubt, but is a bit angry, a bit hurt at times and even a bit jealous to be left out. But here at this Eucharist, on this Octave Day of Easter let us once again renew ourselves with the Lord's Body and Blood.