John 20: 19-29
On the evening of the first day after the Sabbath, the disciples were together with the doors locked for fear of the authorities. Jesus came and stood in their midst and said,
|Duccio, Maestra Altar|
“Peace be with you!”
And while he said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
Full of joy the disciples recognized the Lord. And again, he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”
And when he said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive Holy Spirit through which the world will receive healing. From now on you shall work in human destinies with spiritual power so that they shall have the strength to wrest themselves free from the load of sin, and at the same time to bear the consequences of their offences.”
Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not there with them when Jesus came. Later the disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he replied, “If I do not see in his hand the marks of the nails, and do not put my finger in the place where the nails were, and place my hand in his side, I cannot believe it.”
Eight days later, the disciples were again gathered in the inner room and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Stretch out your finger and see my hands, and stretch out your hand and put it into my side. Be not rigid in your heart, but rather feel and trust in my power in your heart.”
Then Thomas said to him, “You are the Lord of my soul; you are the God whom I serve.”
And Jesus said to him, “Have you found my power in yourself because you have seen me? Blessed are those who find my power in their hearts, even when their eye does not yet see me.”
April 23, 2017
If I were to say that there is a big red thing hovering above the altar, you would naturally look to see it. Unless you could see it yourself, your natural reaction would be disbelief; and perhaps you might begin to distrust my sanity! For our perceptions are based on what we can see, hear, taste, touch.
Thomas questions whether what his fellows report could be real. Like us, he needs to verify it with his own experience. And Christ rewards his healthy skepticism. 'Stretch out your finger and see, stretch out your hand and put it inside,' He says. 'Trust in my power in your own heart.'
Christ asks Thomas, asks all of us, to stretch out our powers of perception, to expand the ways in which we see, hear, touch. This expansion is to move in both directions: outward, toward the world, and inward, toward the faculties of the heart. We are to begin to perceive beyond the merely material sensory world. We are to expand our awareness, open ourselves to other levels of being.
These levels are both higher and deeper. They are both within the world and within us. For Christ and His Healing Spirit of Love is here, now, on the earth. It is planted as a seed within our hearts, for us to nourish and grow. He gives us the strength to grapple with our old habitual ways of seeing, our rigidity of heart. He gives us the strength to bear and work creatively with our destiny.
Finding Christ's power within our hearts gives us the trust and peace that moves us beyond our ordinary way of understanding. Through Christ, worlds open up.