Say Peace to Jesus
It's been a quiet week in Lake Galilee, Nazareth, Jesus' hometown, out there on the edge of the world. All the action of the past few weeks has taken place far away from there, and will continue to do so for a few more days. The disciples are still in Jerusalem, hiding, fearing for their lives. Fractures are forming in relationships formerly held together by the presence of one person, a person who is gone. Some of the disciples claim Jesus has returned, they have seen him. But Jesus has not appeared to everyone who loved him, who followed him. Those who have not been visited think, "Surely this is grief, denial speaking?"
The second Sunday of Eastertide, the first Sunday after Easter, this is Thomas' day. Thomas, in many respects, has captured the minds and collective imagination of Western Christianity. Thomas is relatable to us in a way the rest of the disciples are not. He is not in the room the first time Jesus appears; he hears the story, but does not witness the event. We are in the same position as Thomas - we hear the story, but no matter how many times we reenact the events, we will never witness first hand what actually happened. Thomas has it easy, though. Jesus repeats his trick, albeit in a form unrecognizable to the disciple until he sees the wounds. Jesus points out his identity to the recalcitrant disciple, and Thomas, critical thinker, in need of proof, makes that switch. He believes! The proof was pointed out to him.
Jesus comes to us, makes that visit, even though it is hard to believe. We will not see the wounds Thomas saw, but we will see others. We will see in the hopeless gaze of the person who has lost everything, their despair - a wound that will not close. We will see grief, sorrow, emptiness. These are the wounds of the innocent, the people we crucify today on crosses of conformity, capitalism, and pernicious pride. When Jesus visited the disciples so long ago, he blessed them and said, "Peace be with you." The disciples received that blessing and passed it down the generations of believers. Now Jesus visits us in various unrecognizable forms; it is our turn to say "Peace" to Jesus.