Second Sunday of Easter
April 28, 2019
Doubt is a force to reckon with. It has the power of a speeding bullet. Rather than directed at the heart, it is aimed at the mind. When it strikes, the damage is far more devastating than the bombs that shattered the joy and peace of Easter morning in Sri Lanka.
The first victim of doubt is the doubter himself. Like Thomas, doubt prevents doubters from opening themselves up to something too wonderful for them to wrap their minds around. And so we speak of “suffering doubt.” And suffer Thomas certainly did. But then there is very often extensive collateral damage. Doubt sends shock waves that impact people with whom the doubter comes into contact.
In today’s Gospel, we find Thomas suffering from the horror, grief, and even humiliation of Good Friday. He was heavily invested in Jesus. Like the other Apostles, Thomas committed his entire life to The Lord, and the return on this enormous investment was a new sense of meaning and purpose in life. He placed all of his hope in The Good News which Jesus proclaimed. It seemed that all was lost with Jesus’s Passion and death.
Thomas was blinded to the truth he had invested in wisely, and the returns were infinite. Jesus’s Passion and death left him deaf to The Easter message: HE IS RISEN! It was simply too much for him to work through, and so he reinvested what was left of his mind and heart into doubt.
Thomas has gone through history known as “Doubting Thomas” when it would be far more appropriate to refer to him as “Suffering Thomas.” Thankfully, his suffering was short lived and his doubt overpowered and crushed; all because he returned to the Upper Room and the community of believers.
The Book of Revelation is very often misinterpreted, but in these early verses we hear today, we might be given a glimpse of why Thomas’s doubt had no power over the rest of the community. Thomas found them together in the Upper Room, where they had celebrated The Last Supper. Just as they had SHARED the Passover celebration, they were continuing to SHARE their DISTRESS. But, because they were together, they were able to reinforce the vision of THE KINGDOM that was at the core of all that Jesus taught them. And so, together, in community, they were able to ENDURE. Moreover, they were immune from the doubt that Thomas brought to the Upper Room.
Better still, they offered the perfect environment…Christian community…for Thomas to shake off the doubt from which he suffered. His personal experience of the Risen Christ healed Thomas, and the Upper Room, in the company of the Christian Community, was the perfect place for this cure to happen.
So, how will the Christians of Sri Lanka survive the violence they suffered on Easter Sunday? Or, for that matter, how will any Christian resist the virus of doubt that flourishes in the secular culture in which we live? By continuing to join the Christian community in the Upper Room, SHARING EUCHARIST…SHARING ALL THAT CAUSES US DISTRESS…SHARING OUR VISION OF AND COMMITMENT TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Through the Eucharist, we will ENDURE.