Today’s Gospel is one of the most heartwarming post-resurrection
narratives. Jesus goes through locked doors and greets his friends,
“Peace be with you.” It is clearly a message of reconciliation. Once
again, Jesus takes the initiative and offers his friendship to these
scared and confused friends. Rather than lambast and reprimand them
for their cowardly acts and mention the hurt that they have caused him
for abandoning him, he offers peace.
Jesus is telling them that he is willing to give them a chance; he is
not ready to give up on them. After all, they have been friends for
some time then. Amid their foibles and weaknesses, they were really
good people, ready to serve. Whatever happened in the past, Jesus was
willing to start anew.
The fact that Thomas was not present when Jesus appeared before the
apostles even highlights the reality that Jesus never gives up. Thomas
was given a second chance to personally encounter the risen Lord for
him to believe. In that special encounter, Jesus offered his peace and
his willingness to forgive Thomas for his weakness and lack of faith.
Meanwhile, what is striking and surprising in our risen Lord’s meeting
with Thomas and the earlier appearance is, according to other Gospel
accounts, the willingness of Jesus to show his wounds. He seemingly
did not mind to show the marks on his hands and side. After all, these
were evidences of his unconditional love for us. He was willing to
bear these wounds and their pain as a reminder of his willingness to
offer his life for his beloved.
Such readiness to manifest brokenness is not readily true for us. None
of us are easily comfortable in sharing our weaknesses and failures.
We are afraid to present our vulnerabilities for these may be used to
our disadvantage. But when we think about it, we realize that it is
through our failures and frustrations that we are able to build our
character. We get to understand that such setbacks and weaknesses
challenge us to see what ex tent we are willing to go in order to
become better. This, then, might be where Jesus again tries to turn
our world upside down.
As evidenced in his many Gospel paradoxes like “The first shall be
last and the last shall be first” and “Those who exalt themselves
shall be humbled while those who humble themselves shall be exalted,”
Jesus seems to underscore that true power comes in our weakness. It is
only through such moments that we are able really to allow God to be
our God for we realize our total and utter dependence on Him.