God is Close to Us

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home Depositphotos_14994909_m-2015.jpg

April 8, 2018 – Second Sunday of Easter
John 20:19-31

Behind locked doors, interesting things can happen. As they did to the disciples of Jesus after his Resurrection. There were two visits by the Risen Christ to them while they were still in Jerusalem. The first one had its own interesting dynamics. Without any warning, with the doors locked, Jesus was suddenly standing there in their midst. While his disciples were probably scared to death, Jesus greets them with a wish for them to be at peace. You can imagine that they were anything but peaceful at that moment.

Once all had settled down, Jesus got down to business. He was charging them with a mission. A mission that would include their being ambassadors for God. They would bring God’s merciful forgiveness to those needing that gift.

 

This was a very important ministry for them. We humans often fail to do our best. Sometimes we even sin. Left alone in our sins, we can lose hope for ourselves and for a better tomorrow. Knowing that we are forgiven can release us to do better. God wants us to feel the touch of God’s forgiveness and Jesus wants of his disciples to help in this mission.

Speaking of touch, we also learn about the late arrival of Thomas the apostle who has the unflattering name of “Doubting Thomas.” Because that’s my last name, people have occasionally accused me of doubting. Thomas the apostle does us a special service by showing us that Jesus is okay with doubters. He doesn’t criticize Thomas for doubting. He even goes out of his way to help Thomas move from wondering doubt to wonderful faith.

Then we hear from the doubting one some of the most powerful words in the gospels. He looks at Jesus and with fully strengthened faith he says to Jesus, “My Lord and my God.”

The word used here for “Lord” is the Greek word, Kyrios. It is a sacred word, reserved for God. Making this confession of faith has its own power. It is life giving. To admit that God is close to us, as Thomas declared, is quite an affirmation. It implies that God is not immeasurably distant from us, but rather, God is intimately close to us. God is present in the Eucharist but also present when we hear God’s word, when we care for others in the name of God and when we pray to God.

©David M. Thomas, PhD