Homily preached by Br. Simeon at Blaxland on Sunday 12th April 2015:
SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER. YR B.
Gospel: John 20:19-31
"Unless I see - I will not believe"
May I speak in the Name of the One God, +Father, +Son and +Holy Spirit. Amen
God’s story is our story. We have been blessed with the Bible, God’s story of his interaction with his beloved creation. The stories we read in the gospels are our story. In Holy Week we tried to step into God’s story as we looked at the stories of some of the lesser characters in Mark’s gospel. Now we have come to the Easter season and we walk in the most astonishing and delightful part of the story of God’s dealings with his people. So let us again seek to step into this story.
There must be something confronting about facing a friend scarred with the marks of crucifixion. Such a confrontation would be only a fraction of what these disciples are facing. And even more so when Jesus appears to them in person, alive and very much real!
The Risen Lord Jesus revealed the glory of his resurrection to his disciples gradually and over a period of time. Even after the apostles saw the empty tomb and heard the reports of Jesus' appearance to the women, they were still weak in faith and fearful of being arrested by the Jewish authorities. When Jesus appeared to them he offered proofs of his resurrection by showing them the wounds of his passion, his pierced hands and side. He calmed their fears and brought them peace, the peace which reconciles sinners and makes us friends of God.
Jesus did something which only love and trust can do. He commissioned his weak and timid apostles to bring the good news of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. This sending out of the disciples is parallel to the sending out of Jesus by his heavenly Father. Jesus fulfilled his mission through his perfect love and obedience to the will of his Father. He called his first disciples and he now calls each one of us to do the same. Just as he gave his first disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit, so he breathes on each of us the same Holy Spirit who equips us with new life, power, joy, and courage to live each day as followers of the Risen Lord.
The last apostle to meet the resurrected Lord was the first to go with him to Jerusalem at Passover time. The apostle Thomas was a natural pessimist. When Jesus proposed that they visit Lazarus after receiving news of his illness, Thomas said to the disciples: "Let us also go, that we may die with him" (John 11:16). While Thomas deeply loved the Lord, he lacked the courage to stand with Jesus in his passion and crucifixion.
After Jesus' death, Thomas made the mistake of withdrawing from the other apostles. He sought loneliness rather than fellowship in his time of trial and adversity. He doubted the women who saw the resurrected Jesus and he doubted his own fellow apostles.
When Thomas finally had the courage to re-join the other apostles, Jesus made his presence known to him and reassured him that he had indeed overcome death and risen again. When Thomas recognised his Master, he believed and exclaimed that Jesus was truly Lord and truly God! Through the gift of faith we, too, proclaim that Jesus is our personal Lord and our God. He died and rose that we, too, might have new life in him. The Lord offers each of us new life in his Holy Spirit that we may know him personally and walk in this new way of life through the power of his resurrection.
As we prepare to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, a question I leave with you to ponder in your hearts as you prepare to come and 'eat his flesh', and 'drink his blood', do you believe in the good news of the Gospel and in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring you new life, hope, and joy, today, and throughout your life's journey?