Second Sunday of Easter • Year B

Jeremy R. Hiers, O.S.A.
Director, Office of Justice & Peace
Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova

Acts 4:32-35
Ps 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
1 Jn 5:1-6
Jn 20:19-31

With everything going on in the world today, I believe we can all relate to the post-Resurrection experience of the early disciples. Their faith had been shaken during the arrest, crucifixion, and death of Jesus. Now many of them have trouble seeing and believing in the presence of the risen Lord.

We too may doubt, question, or even miss noticing the power of the Risen Christ at work in our world today, especially when we feel overwhelmed by the violence, natural disasters, and many evils that surrounds us.

Thomas’ own journey towards faith can offer us some clues on how to experience the risen Lord today.

First, Thomas never denies the possibility that Jesus may have risen, only that he wanted more than the testimony of the other disciples. He wanted to experience Jesus himself. Are we open to the possibility that God is indeed working in the struggles of our life, even if our prayers seem to remain unanswered or God feels distant? Do we remain hopeful that God can work miracles in even the most helpless situations in our lives and our world?

Second, Thomas encounters Jesus when he rejoins the community of faith. We do not know why Thomas was not with the other disciples when the risen Lord first appeared to them. However, it is when Thomas rejoins the community of the Twelve that he experiences a very personal encounter with Jesus.

Shortly after his conversion, Augustine realized that he could not continue his search for the risen Lord alone. Inspired by the vision of community we find in our first reading (Acts 4:32-35), Augustine formed a community of like-minded believers to help him walk the life of faith.

As it was with Thomas and Augustine, so it can be for us today. Perhaps this Easter is an invitation to search for the Risen Lord with others. This could be an invitation to join a new Bible study or faith-sharing group. It could be an invitation to join a faith-based support group for something we struggle with. There may also be an opportunity to rekindle an old relationship with another believer. Volunteering can be another great way to connect with a community of believers while working towards a common goal.

All of these can be avenues for us to encounter the powerful presence and love of the Risen Christ.

On this Divine Mercy Sunday, we recall the immense love the Risen Lord has for us. It is a love that far outweighs our doubts, fears, and struggles to believe. As Jesus demonstrates through His presence to Thomas, it is a love that understands our fears, is patient with our doubts, and passes right through locked doors to meet us where we are at and lead us to true faith.

“O good and all powerful One, you care for each of us as if we alone existed. You care for all with the same tenderness that you show to each one” (Saint Augustine, Confessions III, 11).