In her commentary on the Second Sunday of Easter, Sr Esmey Herscovitch RSCJ focuses on Jesus sending his followers out on mission. One of their roles is to bring forgiveness.
If you happened to see the movie The Railway Man you would have been as horrified as I was by the terrible suffering experienced by the railway man; you would also have been moved by the power of forgiveness at the end of the movie. Something of these experiences is reflected in the Easter experience of suffering and forgiveness.
Today we acknowledge one of our ancestors in faith, St Thomas, as we journey with him to greater faith.
The gospel begins with the statement that the doors were closed, presumably locked as it is clear that the people gathered were terrified. But like the stone in front of his tomb, locked doors were no barrier for Jesus and he came to them, showing his wounded hands and side. Immediately he commissions them to GO just as he himself was sent by his Father; he is sending them on his mission, one of their roles being to bring forgiveness. And I think this is an invitation to all of us not only to forgive but to accept forgiveness. To forgive another is to free another, and to withhold forgiveness is to hold another bound, i.e. not to free him/her. Not to forgive or not to accept forgiveness is like keeping doors locked.
For whatever reason Thomas wasn’t with the others when Jesus came the first time. But a week later Jesus came again, not deterred by locked doors, once again he came bringing peace. And this time Thomas was with them and, like the others, could see for himself Jesus’ wounds.
Jesus did not come in glory, in triumph, but he came as one still bearing his wounds; it was by his wounds he was recognized and I think this is yet one more reminder to us that it may be in others’ and our own woundedness and struggle that we shall meet Jesus.
Thomas in recognizing Jesus recognized the presence of God, saying “my Lord and my God”. Jesus said so often “if you know me you know my Father”, “if you see me you see my Father”.