Paul W. Galetto, O.S.A.Second Sunday of Easter (Year A)
Homily by Paul W. Galetto, OSA, Ph.D.

Acts 2:42-47
Ps 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
I Pt 1:3-9
John 20:19-31

“Seeing is believing” is not the lesson from today’s gospel; to think this way is to short change Jesus and Thomas. No, the lesson is “Acting is believing;” let me explain.

It was no ill-timed mistake of Jesus that he appeared in the Upper Room when Thomas was absent. He had a point to prove. He knew the apostles and those who were with them all-too-well. One visit from the Risen Lord just wasn’t going to do it. The apostles were an obtuse group who, sometimes, just didn’t get it. This was the reason for the calculated move on the part of Jesus. To understand this, let us put ourselves in the sandals of Thomas.

In the Upper Room, the apostles had gathered for the Last Supper Thursday evening. I’m sure there were some left over provisions from the dinner that night, but nothing that could sustain them for three days. Sunday morning some of the apostles had run out to see the tomb only because Mary Magdalene had made them go. They must have rushed back in bewilderment and locked the doors figuring that they were going to be accused of stealing the body of Jesus. By the time Sunday evening rolls around, there is nothing left for them to eat and drink and so Thomas is sent to find food and wine. It is at this point that Jesus appears.

When Thomas returns, he finds the doors to the Upper Room locked as when he left them. He gives the secret knock and the others let him in. Imagine what Thomas is thinking. He is at first astounded by the news of the visit of Jesus, but then he thinks that this must be some cruel joke. Why wouldn’t Thomas believe? He didn’t believe because seeing the Risen Lord made no difference in the actions of the disciples gathered in the Upper Room. In the mind of Thomas, it is not seeing that is believing. No, for Thomas “Acting is believing.” If those in the Upper Room truly believed that the Lord had been raised, they would have unlocked the doors of the place where they were. There should be no more fear. There should be no more staying in one place. Belief in the Resurrection calls us to act, to do, to make a change. This is why Jesus had to appear the second time with Thomas present. He knew the apostles would be a little slow on the up-take.

Does your belief in the resurrection cause you to act differently? Or are you still locked in the upper room of prejudice, hate, lack of forgiveness, and indifference? How does belief in the resurrection change the way you act? In the eyes of those of the world, seeing may be believing, but in eyes of those who follow the Risen Lord, acting is believing.