In last Sunday’s Gospel, we experienced the doubting of Thomas, one of the twelve disciples, one of Jesus’ close companions. He was the one who did not believe in the fact that Jesus had risen from the dead; until Jesus appeared to Thomas and allowed Thomas to touch, to see the Risen Body of Jesus.
The Gospel today is somehow connected to the story of last Sunday. The doubting experience has moved from one person to a bigger group of followers. In other words, the doubting experience about the Risen Jesus has spread throughout the communities. Many, many more people were not quite sure about their faith and belief, about their futures. They did not know what to believe and what to not. People in the time of Jesus, tried to understand the event that happened to the man named Jesus by using their intellectual capacities. They wished to comprehend the event at the human level without seeing God’s plan. The more they try to understand with the human eye; the more, it leads to confusion and frustration.
In the midst of the confusion and frustration, the presence of Jesus has comforted them by the way that he allows them to see and touch Him, and finally eats in front of them in order to show them that they are not seeing a ghost but a living human being. He then explains to them what is written in the Scripture of what had happened to Him, that is his death and resurrection. And this is according to God’s plan, to save the people from their sins. That is why He said: “Thus it is likewise written that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.”
Having said that and based on today’s reading, it is inviting us to reflect on two things:
Firstly, there are things in our lives that should not happen but in God’s wise decision, it must happen. There are things that we want to happen but they don’t turn out the way we want them to. It is because God has a hidden reason for letting the unwanted event happen. This experience invites us to trust our lives in God’s hand.
Secondly, we are Jesus’ witnesses of His resurrection until today. At the end of today’s gospel, Jesus instructs His disciples to be His witnesses to all nations. He says to them that “You are witnesses of these things.” Witnessing is more than telling people about the life of Jesus who lived 2,000 ago. If witnessing is about telling, everyone can do it easily. Witnessing to Jesus is more than testifying that He is risen. The soldiers guarding the tomb did that. They could tell one another that Jesus of Nazareth is no longer in the tomb.
But I do believe that witnessing Jesus is testified by our lives, our actions more than our words. That is each one of us who allows the power of the Risen Jesus to touch us and transform us in the most unexpected way. Witnessing Jesus is letting Jesus speak through us to other people and allowing people to see the new person within us who has been through the new experience of Easter every year.
The Gospel of this weekend is quite rich with each message. Let us ask the Holy Spirit that enlightened people at that first Easter more than 2,000 years ago, to enlighten us today so that we can allow and accept God’s plan in our lives and to be a strong witness about the Risen Lord in our daily activities.
By Fr Trac Nguyen