THE STORY OF JESUS AND THOMAS
(A biblical refection on SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER, 27 April 2014)
First Reading: Acts 2:42-47; Psalms: Psalm 118:2-4,13-15,22-24; Second Reading:1 Peter 1:3-9; Gospel Reading: John 20:19-31
The teenaged girl blushed and giggled as the palm-reader spoke slowly while examining her hands; then she excitedly ran back to join her friends. “She says I’m intelligent, will meet a very loving man and have a long life.” “All that just from looking at your hands?” asked one of the group. “Sure, you see this mark? That’s my long lifeline; this one shows intelligence, and the long curving line indicates my future romance.” Another teenager smiled skeptically and patted her friend on the shoulder. “I hope it all comes true for you,” she said, as they sauntered down the midway of the amusement park.
The pseudo-science of palmistry obviously cannot predict the future by analyzing our hands. At best, it’s just a game of make-believe. Today’s Gospel, however, does beckon us to analyze the hands of Jesus to understand His character and to see what the future holds. On our Lord’s hands the usual lines are obscured by the nail scars. These scars reveal His true character in clear and certain terms. They tell us that He suffered and died for others, and was treated as a criminal – not because He was so bad, but because He was so good. The scars show that He persevered until His painful task was finished and that He was, is and ever will be true to His word.
If you don’t feel as close to God as you used to, you should ask yourself, which one of you moved away. In His hands we read His faithfulness and eternal friendship.
The Lord did not carry a driver’s license or social security card, but He had the best identification possible – indelible marks of the nails. These scars in the glorified body of Jesus are the lifelines for fallen humanity.
Thomas was not satisfied with only seeing the face of our Lord to determine His identity. The face can change its expression and deceive others. The face can smile when sad and cry when happy, but the hands cannot change their expression. Jesus understood what Thomas meant, and He said to him, “Take your finger and examine My hands.”
There’s a beautiful variety of expression in the many varied hands which are raised to receive Eucharistic Lord. Some are soft and well-manicured; others are shadow-thin and shaky. There are strong and calloused hands of laborers and the little fingers of children. All reach out for Jesus, Jesus reaches back with hands which will bleed no more – but the blessed scars remind us of the day they did.
John says that this story of Jesus and Thomas is told “to help you believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, so that through this faith you may have life in His name.”
Source: Rev. James McKarns, GO TELL EVERYONE, Makati, Philippines: St. Paul Publications, 1985, pages 26-27.
Jakarta, 27 April 2014
A Christian Pilgrim