‘Alleluia’ moments. JOHN 20:19–31
By Sr Christina Araujo OP
In today’s gospel, it is the evening of that very first Easter Sunday and the disciples of Jesus are together in the Upper Room. The doors are securely closed.
After the events of the past days, the disciples are not taking any unnecessary risks. Jesus’ arrest, His condemnation, crucifixion, and death, must have been very present in the minds and hearts of those gathered there.
Picture the scene. Picture yourself in that room. They had had their dreams, their hopes, of what the future would hold with Jesus as their Master. Never in their wildest dreams had they imagined that Jesus would let Himself be betrayed, arrested, condemned to death, and crucified.
They had seen people transformed by Jesus…converted, healed, brought back to life, made to walk again. Then they saw Jesus Himself condemned as a criminal and put to death. How were they to make sense of this?
We can understand their fears. “Would they be looking for us next?” might be the question spoken or unspoken in the mind of each one. We would certainly want to stay out of sight.
Now Jesus appears to the disciples right there in that room. He says, “Peace be with you.” Then He shows them His hands and side…the holes, made by the nails, as they pierced His hands and feet, nailing Him securely to the cross…the wound, made by the spear, as it pierced His side.
The disciples are filled with joy as they see the Lord. Jesus breathes on them and they receive the Holy Spirit. A new phase is about to begin in their lives.
How do we make sense out of the seemingly negative experiences in our lives? How do we allow them to be transformed into moments of life-giving, peace-giving, joy-filling empowerment?
But today’s reading is not ended yet. One of the twelve was not there. His name is Thomas. When Thomas comes back, they tell him “We have seen the Lord.” Thomas will not believe until he has seen for himself and has put his finger into the wounds and his hand into Jesus’ side.
A week later Jesus again appears, and Thomas is able to verify that it is indeed Jesus, who has risen and whom he now acclaims as “My Lord and My God”.
Thomas’ need for support with his faith has become an added reassurance for us all. Yes, it is true, He has risen.
How is this story our story, yours, and mine? Picture the scene. How is God calling us to live it now?
Perhaps there was a time when you too, had a dream, a hope, an expectation, that seemed to have been suddenly and drastically brought to nothing. Then you discovered that the dream was very much alive in a different way perhaps, and you were free to live it. It was the beginning of a new and glorious day.
Sr Christina Araujo is a Dominican sister of the Sinsinawa Community.