Believing Is Seeing

Reflection for the Second Sunday of Easter by FAN Board Member, Carolyn Townes

This reflection was originally posted in our April 17th newsletter


PEacefulOn every Second Sunday of Easter, we read John’s Gospel account of the disciples locked away in fear and Jesus appearing to them. Knowing their fear and trepidation, Jesus twice gives them his peace. Then, knowing their doubt, he shows them his crucifixion wounds. Yes, it is really the risen Lord and they do not need to be afraid. As he promised before his death, he breathed on them the power of the Holy Spirit.

What is interesting to note is Thomas is not with them during that first evening encounter. Thomas was not there to be greeted by the Lord’s peace. And he was not there to receive the breath of the Holy Spirit; thus the power to forgive sins. When the disciples finally saw Thomas, they told him they had seen the Lord. Thomas did what any one of us would have done – he disbelieved until he could see for himself. Until he could experience the risen Jesus for himself, he would not believe.

We all struggle through times of fear and doubt. When we are faced with significant changes in life, there is a certain amount of both these emotions; fear of what will happen and doubt that all will be well. In those moments of fear and doubt, we too have a difficult time believing. Is God really there? Does God hear my prayers? Yet, just as Jesus gave his peace to the fearful disciples on that first evening, he also gives his peace to us when we are afraid. And just as Jesus showed Thomas his wounds so that he may believe, he also shows us the way so that we may believe. But unlike Thomas, we must believe without seeing. As Jesus said “blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Peace, like love, can be a vague concept, especially in the American English language and culture. We have watered down the concept so that it does not have the same impact as in Jesus’ time. In that first century culture, extending peace to someone was profound and truly meant something. Today, it is consigned to symbols on placards and wishy washy handshakes. What if we were to revert back to that true meaning of peace? The peace that Jesus speaks of and extends. The peace that could calm troubled waters. How would you respond differently if that were the peace you received or gave? May the Risen Lord grant you his peace.

Carolyn D. Townes, OFS
National Animator, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
U.S. Secular Franciscan Order
FAN Board Member

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Published in: on April 18, 2017 at 8:53 am  Leave a Comment  

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