Readings: Acts 2:42–47; Psalm 118; 1 Peter 1:3–9; John 20:19–31
Hiding away from the world, afraid of what may happen — the parallels of life during the pandemic and the days the apostles hid away after Jesus died are quite similar. These past few weeks, society has had everything change in an instant with no sense of when things will get back to feeling normal and safe. For the apostles, Thomas was the only one who did not see Jesus when he came to them on Easter Sunday, giving them hope. He was still feeling afraid and alone that next Sunday, when Jesus came again into the locked room where the apostles were.
Jesus’ first message was, “Peace be with you.” A wonderful parallel. At this time, when nothing feels secure, we are all searching for peace. How comforting it is to know that even if our faith is wavering like Thomas’, Jesus is ready to come to us and say, “Peace be with you.” The gospel tells us, we do not always have to be ready or completely sure, Jesus is always ready and will come to us.
The responsorial psalm also points to hope. “Let the House of Israel say, ‘His faithful love endures forever’ … I was pushed hard, to make me fall, but Yahweh came to my help. Yahweh is my strength and my song, he has been my Savior.” These words are lived out in the upper room when Thomas sees the Lord and stops doubting that He has risen.
“Jesus said to him: You believe because you can see me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Jesus may not be showing us His wounds, but we can certainly see Him as we watch the many heroes doing His work throughout the pandemic. The healthcare workers who risk their own health to care for those who are ill. The educators who are giving students everywhere some consistency and contact with the outside world. The parents who are putting their fears aside to calm the fears of their children. Look at all these heroic acts and know that Jesus is there quietly saying, “Peace be with you.” Know that “This is the day which our God has made, a day for us to rejoice and be glad.”
– Patrice Athanasidy
Patrice, an Associate of the Sisters of Charity since 1997, is a freelance writer, wife of Bill, and mother of Charlotte, Peter, and Kit. She is also an adjunct professor of communications.
Painting: The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, Caravaggio, c. 1601–1602
Thank you, Patrice, for your beautiful and very meaningful message today. I needed it as a great reminder to keep working and to keep trusting in the Good Lord to help us work through this pandemic. Interestingly, each of my prayers to family, friends, and all the medical people sacrificing their lives for us is — Peace be with you.
Thank you, Patrice, for your reflection on today’s reading.☮️