Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Church

Devotional Thoughts for New Sunday, First Sunday after Easter

by Rev. Fr. M. K. Kuriakose

Gospel Reading for New Sunday - First Sunday after Easter) : John 20: 19-31 (MKJV).

20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first of the Sabbaths, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, Peace to you! 20 And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

21 Then Jesus said to them again, Peace to you. As My Father has sent Me, even so I send you. 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 Of whomever sins you remit, they are remitted to them. Of whomever sins you retain, they are retained.

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, We have seen the Lord. But he said to them, Unless I shall see the print of the nails in His hands, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe.

26 And after eight days the disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst and said, Peace to you! 27 Then He said to Thomas, Reach your finger here and behold My hands; and reach your hand here and thrust it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.

28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, My Lord and my God! 29 Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen Me you have believed. Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed.

30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you might have life in His name.

Discussion

The incident of Jesus' appearance to His disciples in the absence of St. Thomas and His reappearance when St. Thomas was present are seen there.

The post-resurrection appearances of our Lord are read from Easter to Pentecost affirming that the resurrection is real. Scholars are still struggling with the mystery of our Lord's resurrection. Even the Apostles could not understand it until they experienced the risen Lord. They are our witnesses. They simply imparted that experience to us that we may believe. The following thought will be helpful in the event of His appearance see in St. John's account.

1. The Apostles slowly began to understand what Jesus meant by the Kingdom of God. So far they imagined a worldly kingdom but after resurrection they understood that the Kingdom is beyond material world.

2. The Apostles were afraid that they lost the immediate presence of the Lord because He was not available with them physically. Now they learned and experienced the eternal presence of the Lord no matter where they were. I believe that St. Thomas had no reluctance to go to India because he knew that the Lord's presence will go with him.

3. St. Thomas' unbelief was just `disbelief' that he wanted to see the Lord and believe. It was not his stubbornness to reject other Apostles' account. He had the natural curiosity. When he saw the Lord, his experience became unique. He differs from today's scholars who try to disprove the resurrection because he wanted to see the Lord. Today, the scholars do not seek the Lord but want to explain away the mystery of resurrection. And therefore, they can't experience the Lord. Therefore the wonderful statement came from St. Thomas, "My Lord and My God."

4. There is a story of St. Thomas' index finger and middle finger joined from birth was separated while touching the wounds of the Lord. This story is mostly in the Orthodox circles. It is a fabulous event. St. Thomas' experience became truly unique because he felt that in his body. We won't forget if we have the same touch of the Lord in our real life. Let us experience the Lord than speak about, hear about and write about Him. Today we lack the real experience. We are after other diversions in life. Could Jesus be part of our experience today?

5. Experiencing the Lord in real life is the Holy Eucharist. We see Him, touch Him, consume Him, and become one with Him. Those who felt that oneness will make the difference in our community today. They can only live for the Lord.

6. Finally, we are more blessed today because we believe without seeing the Lord with our physical eyes. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who believe without seeing." There is no need of a scientific search for the Lord.

Just believe. He is so near to us.

See Also:

Devotional Thoughts on New Sunday (First Sunday after Easter)
by Rev. Fr. Dr. V Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil

The Healing Power of Touch
by Fr. Dr. George Palackapilly, sdb

Jesus' Appearance to St. Thomas
by Very Rev. Dr. Yohannan Sankarathil Cor-Episcopa

Devotional Thoughts for New Sunday
by Jose Kurian Puliyeril

Devotional Thoughts for New Sunday
by Jose Kurian Puliyeril

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