RCL Year C Easter 2
Acts 5:27-32, Psalm 118:14-29, Revelation 1:4-8, Saint John 20:19-31

The Twentieth Chapter of Saint John always is the Gospel on Easter Day and the following Sunday. I take this to mean that the Church understands that this Gospel has something important to tell us about the Resurrection. And today, in preaching the Resurrection, I want to tell you what that may be. I believe it is contained in this verse: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”[1] In the whole chapter, John constructs a line, a continuum, of seeing, touching, and believing. The farther along the line you go, the better off you are.

In the Gospel for Easter Day, Mary sees Jesus in the Garden and wants to touch him, but he prevents her. Her progress stops there. Peter sees the empty tomb, and his progress stops there. John sees the empty tomb, and he goes on to reach the finish line; he believes.

In the Gospel today, Jesus appears to the disciples, and without a question from them he shows them his hands and his side. When Thomas learns of Jesus’ appearance to the other disciples, he tells them that unless he sees and touches, he will not believe. A week later, Jesus appears to the disciples with Thomas present, and he shows Thomas his hands and his side. He offers his hands and his side to be touched. When Thomas touches him, he believes, exclaiming, “My Lord and my God!”[2] Thomas comes to believe because he has seen and he has touched.

But Jesus declares that the whole point is to believe without having seen: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”[3] The disciples run the gamut of seeing, touching, and believing.

In my forty-ninth year of Confirmation, I have run that gamut from start to finish over and over again. I have seen traces of the Lord. I have seen his footprints. And I have believed. And after believing, I have yearned to believe more. And to believe more than that. And while the Lord satisfies that yearning, the yearning persists. It does not die. It lasts a lifetime. Saint Augustine in his Confessions put it this way: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”[4] The events of that first Easter Day become the events of the entirety of our mortal life.

[1] Saint John 20:29b.

[2] Saint John 20:28.

[3] Saint John 20:29.

[4] Saint Augustine, Confessions, I:1.