When the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton was announced few months ago, I heard people talking about it. I read in the news that it’s going to be a fairy tale wedding. I was a bit cynical of that speculation. I thought,there could not be a fairy tale wedding because it’s going to be a real event, a real exchanging of vows between two real people. I always thought that a ‘fairy tale wedding’ would always be about fictional characters, in the fictional kingdom, written by an imaginative minds of some creative people in the world, to be read in the nursery schools or to be read to the kids before bedtime.However, when I saw the Live TV coverage of the event last night, I can only make one conclusion, it was indeed a “fairy tale” event, happening in a real place, with real people. I watched and I believed.
Thomas, in our gospel today, could not also take it as real, the report of the women, the report of the other apostles that Jesus is actually risen and alive and had shown himself to them. He doubted about the truth of the claim saying, “Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.” By this he is labelled the “doubter”. The following week, the apostles again gathered behind closed doors. Thomas is one of them. Then Jesus appeared. For Thomas, this is too good to be true. Jesus invited him to touch his wounded hands and side. And then he was convinced and believed.
We might criticise Thomas for this disbelief, but he just shows us, one of our real human characteristics, to doubt until proven true or false. That’s why it’s no coincidence we have in our legal system the term “innocent until proven guilty” or “guilty until proven innocent” in some cases. In our world today, we tend to doubt about many things, because of the things that the world offers to us. We doubt, which is which. We have all these TV Ads persuading us to get this thing or buy that, because this or that is the right thing to do and right thing to buy. This and all that just add more doubt for us. Unfortunately, this attitude of doubting also applies to our relationship with other people and even with God.
Like Thomas we doubt of the claim of others. “Are they telling me the truth?”, referring to others. Or “Are you for real?” referring to Jesus.
Our Readings today invite us not to stay in doubt, not to live in doubt, nor to stop doubting but to go beyond it. But how can we go beyond it? There are four ways, that we can get from our reflection on the readings today.
First, from the Act of the Apostles, as our first reading. We are told that the whole community of disciples of Jesus remained faithful to the teaching of the Apostles. Therefore, we, being Christians, being a members of the Church, we are also called to be faithful to the teaching of Jesus, as being carried out and preserved by the Church.
Second in our Responsorial Psalm. It offers us to accept that we couldn’t do this on our own, but to rely on God’s help, for he is our strength our saviour, for he’s done marvellous works.
Third in our Second Reading. Peter tells us to remain faithful to God and his promises, to nourish our faith all the more. He says to us now, “Through your faith, God’s power will guard you until the salvation which has been prepared is revealed at the end of time.”
Fourth in our gospel. Jesus invites us look at him, to touch his wounded hands and side, and to accept his message of peace. How can we touch his wounded side and hands today? By looking at him in the person of our brothers and sisters around us, by helping the vulnerable, by taking the initiative to be like Jesus to others, to work with him, to work like him.
How can we take his message of peace when the world today is suffering from violence? Jesus says to us now, this is not our real home. Be at peace, because we are just pilgrims here. Our real home is in heaven where peace is the rule and the norm. He is risen to prepare a room for us there. SO let’s be at peace…but let’s continue to hope and pray that we’ll get to our real home in heaven.
Today we celebrate the Divine Mercy Sunday, this is another way to cast away our doubt of God’s continuing help and love for us despite of our sinfulness, unworthiness, limitations, and even our “unlovableness”.
Today we also witness the beatification of the late John Paul the Great, a step away from his canonization. Let’s invoke him to help us accept the message of Jesus in our lives as well as to live out the message of Easter, that Jesus is alive, and he lives among us now in the person of the people around us, in the Eucharist, in the liturgical assembly, in the Sacraments, and in many ways. Let’s not doubt his presence, for he is real. Yes, his resurrection might just be a fairy tale for us…But let’s look at him, feel his presence, and we’ll come to believe he is really here and now.