Today’s reading is John 20: 19-31 (NABRE):
Appearance to the Disciples.
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
21 [Jesus] said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit.
23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
24 Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples said to 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 into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
28 Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of [his] disciples that are not written in this book.
31 But these are written that you may [come to] believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Jesus, the Son of God who was sent to redeem us from our sins, now sends you to save the world. Wait—what? You? Yes, you. Jesus calls each one of us to emulate Him and act as saviors of the world today.
Saviors—that’s a bit of a strong word, isn’t it? Jesus was the only one capable of saving us from sin. That is undeniably true, and although we are imperfect, Jesus fills us with the Holy Spirit. With this gift, He calls us to be missionaries for the world, to proclaim the Gospel, and to use our gifts and talents to spread peace, love, and joy. We then use the power we obtain from Him alone to share His love with others. When we do this, we bring Jesus, the savior of the world, to them. Therefore, we act as saviors for them in the name of Christ.
Being saviors is not only an ability that we possess, but a command from God himself: “so I send you.” He doesn’t ask, he doesn’t suggest. He tells us directly that, as His disciples, this is our vocation. Saving souls is the reason we are here. But just how do we do that, especially in a stronghold of secularism? The most common and valid answer to this question is to live your faith. You’ve probably been encouraged before that you shouldn’t leave Christ’s teachings in the pews, and that you should incorporate them into daily life, but faith itself is even more fundamental than action when it comes to living your faith. You cannot act on faith without having faith.
And that’s where Thomas comes in! After Thomas doubts that the Lord has risen, Christ appears to him and the Apostles, telling Thomas, “do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Faith is a commandment from Jesus himself! He calls us to believe in Him, to trust in His Way, and to be witnesses to His Glorious Resurrection. Faith can be hard at times, as Thomas demonstrated. Hardship, fear, and uncertainty can stifle our ability to maintain this virtue. But as we listen to and witness the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus makes of himself for us this Friday, and His eternal triumph over death on Easter, we should remember that “with God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Although we are imperfect beings, as long as we have the Holy Spirit and seek to find Truth in our lives, we will possess faith and can act on it. With faith, we can fulfill Jesus’ other commandment for us: to be saviors, sent by Him, to the world.
In a nutshell: Jesus died for you to save you from your sins and to prepare you a beautiful, eternal home with Him, should you want to accept this gift. If you do, Jesus sends you—YOU—out into the world to save others by bringing them to Him. The only way to do this is to live your faith, or more specifically, to have faith. P.S.—You have the Holy Spirit to help you too. The road won’t be easy, but should you trust in Jesus, you will find your way. After all, John the Evangelist says that his Gospel, inspired by the Holy Spirit, was “written so that you may [come to] believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.” Believe in Christ, have life in His name, and share His life with others to save the world. This is our commandment and our purpose. This is our destiny.
Kevin Kearns ’20 is a freshman living in Thayer Hall.