In this octave of Easter, we read through the resurrection appearances of Christ to Mary Magdalene outside the tomb, to the travelers on the way to Emmaus, and to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberius. We witness the mix of sadness, terror, and doubt that are changed into joy, exhilaration, and faith when Jesus’ followers finally recognize the friend who stands in their midst, the friend they once thought dead but who is now raised in glory. This weekend, we hear John’s account of Jesus entering through locked doors to find his disciples huddled in fear. Yet the first word he speaks is not one of rebuke—rather Jesus calmly says, “Peace.” A week later he finds the disciples in the same place and extends the same gentle greeting, this time inviting the previously absent Thomas to touch his wounds, cast aside unbelief, and trust that he has kept the promise of his resurrection. For us today, Christ’s victory over darkness and sin by the resurrection gains him entrance even into the locked spaces of our hearts. His word continues to be that of peace, inviting us to hope in the cross and believe in the transforming graces it offers. The Holy Cross constitutions state that there is “no failure the Lord’s love cannot reverse” and “no routine he cannot transfigure” as “resurrection for us is a daily event.” May we be true Easter people who walk always in the light of this resurrection.
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…. Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Christ the Lord is ris’n today; Christians, haste your vows to pay;
make your joy and praises known at the Paschal Victim’s throne.
For the sheep the Lamb has bled, sinless in the sinner’s stead.
Christ the Lord is ris’n on high; now he lives, no more to die.
Hallowed, chosen dawn of praise, Easter, queen of all our days:
Zion’s children now come forth, east to west and south to north.
Let the peoples praise you, Lord; be, by all that is, adored:
let the nations shout and sing glory to their Paschal King.