Acts 4:32-35 / 1 Jn 5:1-6 / Jn 20:19-31
Dear friends, one man dared to be brave. While others were cowed down with fear he fearlessly roamed around the city. This man was St. Thomas. No wonder this bold saint came as far as India to preach the Good News. While all the apostles out of fear locked up themselves in one room, where was Thomas? Thomas was not with them, he was out on his own –quite a bold and confident man. So when the disciples told Thomas about the appearance of Jesus he refused to believe. How can Jesus show himself to these fearful people and not him?
Later on Jesus appears to Thomas and asks him to touch and verify if he is truly the crucified Jesus who has risen. Our Lord Jesus is known by his scars. An interesting question arises. Why did Jesus allow Thomas to touch him but not Mary Magdalene? In the previous paragraph Jesus stops Mary Magdalene from touching him since he has not yet ascended to the Father. On the other hand in today’s gospel passage Jesus is asking Thomas to touch him. Why this different treatment? This has a deep theological significance. In the Jewish temple the high priest used to offer the sacrificial offering which would move up like a pleasing aroma to the Lord. Only the high priest was allowed to touch this sacrificial offering. Here we have Jesus who is the sacrificial offering who is ascending into heaven. Just as only the priest was allowed to touch this offering, Jesus allows only his priest to touch this sacrificial offering. In other words, Jesus is assigning his apostles the role of a priest.
In the first reading we heard that the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power and they were all given great respect. Jesus had touched their hearts deeply and transformed their lives. The followers of Christ had true love for one another because they believed that all were God’s children. Being children of one Father, they had concern for their needy brothers and sisters. St. John in his first letter explains what it means to love God. He says –“We can be sure that we love God’s children if we love God himself and do what he has commanded us.”
Dear friends, as we live in an experiential world let us pray for the gift of faith in our life, for a caring attitude towards our needy brothers and sisters and for faithfulness to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Article published in Asian Journal of Religious Studies, Vol 57:2, March 2012.