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  • Writer's pictureJohn M

Weekly Liturgy : April 18-24

John 20:19-31

Jesus Appears to Thomas, Jesus Mafa, 1973
Jesus Appears to Thomas, Jesus Mafa, 1973


Jesus Appears to the Disciples When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Jesus and Thomas

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

The Purpose of This Book

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.


The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, Caravaggio, 1602.
The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, Caravaggio, 1602.



Throughout the Bible, the most consistent command God gives humanity is, do not be afraid. And in this first story of Jesus after his death and resurrection, he enters an environment of fear and immediately brings peace. This is shape of God's self that God desires for us to experience.

But Jesus doesn't just want the disciples to remain in the room behind closed doors and experience the security of safety. He wants them to unlock those doors and enter a world disturbed by fear, rivalry, and violence, bringing with them the same message: peace!

Unless we get on with the work of forgiving the people we fear most or are most tempted to hate, the "sinning" will just keep on going. Unless we provide people an imagination for a new way of being through our own choices to stop our cycles of revenge, the rivalry and violence of the world will continue on as it always has. The hope of the world is in those who know and enact peace. Truly: blessed are the peacemakers.



Outward Mindset Application Think of a way you could creatively share some resources with a coworker and propose that idea to them.

Pathways Toward Centeredness Visio Divina is an ancient practice of "praying with our eyes," by which we allow an image to lead us into contemplation. The images included in this liturgy each week are selected for exactly this purpose. This week, sit with one of the images (or choose one of your own!) and sit with these questions: What emotions does this image evoke in you? What motivations does this image stir in you? Does this image lead you to thin of any word or memories? What might you learn from the image in front of you?

Questions for Consideration Is there an environment of fear in your life or in someone you know? What could you do to bring peace to those corners of the world? Who in your life would benefit from knowing they are forgiven? When is the last time you thought: "this is too good to be true," but then discovered the thing really was true?

Many of our reflections on each week's text come from other sources. If you're interested in reading more of what inspires us, here our our two favorite reflections.


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