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.”
by Father Greg Friedman, OFM
“I’ll need to see some proof.” “How can you be certain?” Have you used one of those expressions today? Most of us are used to a scientific approach to the world around us. We need proof for anything out of the ordinary or beyond our experience. We don’t want to be “taken in” by extravagant claims or wild speculations.
So today’s Gospel—the story of “Doubting Thomas”—has a modern appeal. Thomas wants proof of the resurrection. Scripture scholar Father Raymond Brown says that in John’s Gospel the resurrection stories link faith in the Risen Jesus to something concrete: the Beloved Disciple sees Christ’s burial cloths; Mary Magdalene hears his voice; the gathered disciples see the Risen Lord in the upper room. So it’s natural for Thomas in turn to look for concrete evidence.
But Father Brown says that the Gospel’s author—and Jesus—are looking for a different reaction. What about those who believe without any physical proof? They are to make an act of faith, for Jesus calls such believers “blessed.”
When we hear this Gospel proclaimed in our local parish this weekend, let’s look around and take heart from our fellow believers, who “have not seen, and yet believe.” When my faith wavers I gain strength from our shared faith, present in the community of faith—the Church.
by Father Dan Kroger, OFM
• In the first reading (Acts 2:42-47), we hear how Peter and the Apostles devoted themselves to the breaking of bread and to the prayers. But what happened during that time? Did their preaching matter?
There were miracles and signs done through the Apostles. Those who believed are said to hold “all things in common.” What dd they do with their possessions?
• Peter praises God in the second reading (1Pt 1:3-9). Why?
He praises those who believe, even if they had to face some trials. Why did that happen?
• This week’s Gospel reading is about Jesus appearing in the upper room. Who were there? What did Jesus do?
Which Apostle was not there? What did he say? Why?
When Jesus came again, a week later, what happened?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
• Make a peace sign and decorate it using any items you wish—crayons, markers, paint, pictures, flowers, stickers. Hang it somewhere in your room or home as a reminder to be a vessel of peace for others.
• Virtually gather some friends and family members and pray the Rosary together.
• Many parishes are still closed and celebrating Mass online. Take this opportunity to attend Mass at different locations throughout the world. You can stream Mass from the Vatican at vatican.va, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York (saintpatrickscathedral.org/live), or other locations. Post the ways your family is celebrating your faith during these uncertain times using the hashtags #faithandfamily and #peaceandgood. And tag @FranciscanMedia in your posts.