Working with the Word
Focusing the Gospel
Key words and phrases: Jesus came, Receive the Holy Spirit, Unless I see ... I will not believe, Jesus came, have not seen and have believed
To the point: he basic issue in this gospel story is coming to believe that Jesus is risen and alive. What is made clear is that believing is not dependent on physical contact with Jesus (Thomas makes his profession of faith without touching Jesus), but coming to believe does depend on personal encounter. Authentic encounter between persons only happens through mutual self-giving: Jesus’ self-giving is shown through his gift of the Holy Spirit to us; our self-giving is shown when we open ourselves to receive that Spirit. Coming to believe more deeply that Jesus is risen and alive is the work of the Spirit within and among us. What a Gift!
Connecting the Gospel …
… to Second Reading: In the Gospel Jesus extols those who come to believe that he has risen even though they have not seen him. In the first reading Peter also extols those who have not seen, yet still love and believe in Jesus. Belief in Jesus’ risen Life elicits “indescribable and glorious joy.” So who would not want to believe?
… to experience: We don’t come to belief through proofs; we come to belief through the attestation of others whom we trust. The same is true of our belief in the risen Jesus. We have not seen him, but we do encounter him and come to believe in him through the words and actions of others.
**From Saint Louis University