Second Sunday of Easter – Fr. Rick Sherman Homily
April 19, 2020
John 20:19-31; Acts of the Apostles 2:42-47
Perhaps, like many Christians, this is my favorite week of the year: the Octave of Easter. Throughout the week Scripture offers us a beautiful series of encounters between the disciples and the resurrected Christ. Because Jesus’ body is in a glorified state they don’t recognize him immediately, but there are several clues that finally break through.
- The Beloved disciple sees the empty tomb and BELIEVES; sheer gift of faith!
- Peter starts putting the evidence together in noticing the neatly and peculiarly placed burial cloths.
- Mary Magdalene recognizes Jesus when He calls her by name: “Mary”,… “Rebounni!”…
- The disciples on the road to Emmaus finally recognized Jesus, after walking with Him for several miles, in the breaking of the bread and when they recall ‘their hearts burning’ as He explained the Scriptures. By grace they INSISTED that He stay with them for supper in the first place.
In today’s Gospel Thomas recognizes Jesus in His wounds, i.e., His suffering. Most often Thomas’ name is preceded by the unfortunate adjective, ‘Doubting’. However, today he gives us a most important insight and one that Jesus strongly emphasizes in Matthew 25: “Whenever you did any of these things (Corporal and Spiritual Works Of Mercy) for the least of my people, you did them for Me.” This a teaching to the nations and was explained as an essential criteria for getting to Heaven…or being condemned to hell. Thomas goes on to insist that he be able to put his fingers into the very wounds of Christ. This is also an extremely important insight. The most disadvantaged among us often need a very personal touch into their often messy and chaotic lives. The miracle is in accepting the grace of God to see Jesus in all kinds of people. This is not magic; it’s a very inspired encounter requiring a genuinely human response.
Despite the great fear of the disciples, who had locked themselves in a room for fear of the Jews, they eventually accepted Jesus’ peace and went on to establish the Church among all nations. This cost most of them their very lives, but the encounter with the resurrected Christ was so life-altering that they could not contain their zeal.
How do WE recognize Jesus in our lives? Has anything changed since the end of Lent and the beginning of Easter season? How are we sharing our Christ encounter with others? Especially in our current pandemic and economic crises, how might we anticipate Christ appearing to us in suffering and extreme neediness?