Monday, April 12, 2010

Are Your Doors Locked?

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2nd Sunday of Pascha: Thomas Sunday

We are all familiar with the story of “Doubting Thomas,” the disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ who was not with the others on the day of our Lord’s Resurrection from the dead, and so would not accept the testimony of the others that they had seen the Lord. No, Thomas wanted proof; and, of course, as we have heard in the reading today from the holy Gospel according to St. John the Theologian, it was on the Sunday following Pascha when Thomas himself saw the risen Christ, and knelt before Him, saying, “My Lord and my God!” But today, let’s look instead at the other disciples of our Lord.

Probably one of the most notable things said about them in this account is that on both occasions when our Lord appeared to them, the doors to the room in which they were gathered were locked. Why? We are told that the doors were locked “for fear of the Jews.” Their fear was the same fear that caused Peter to deny that he knew the Lord at the time of the arrest and trial of our Lord Jesus Christ. They feared that they, too, would be arrested by the Jews, would be accused before the Romans, and would be put to death as criminals and rebels. For this reason, they hid themselves, and locked the doors. Locked doors, of course, did not prevent our Lord Jesus from coming into their midst.

The disciples did not remain in a state of fear. Indeed, they went forth in boldness to proclaim in word and in activity that Christ is risen from the dead, that He has trampled down death by death, and has given life to those who were in the tomb. All of them except one, St. John the Theologian, came to suffer the very death that was the initial source of their fear; all of them except one were martyred because of their faith. If they had not overcome their fear, we would not have today the testimony to the life, death, and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ; we would not have the knowledge of the good news of our salvation, of the forgiveness of sins, and the hope of life without end in the presence of God, if they had remained behind those locked doors.

What about us, who claim to be followers of the risen Lord? What about us who, in our baptism and chrismation, have received the Holy Spirit, as the disciples present in that locked room received from our Lord? Like them, we have been given the mission to tell the world that Jesus Christ is the Son of God Who died to set us free from death; that Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of lords, and that those who follow the way of life He has given us have the hope of a place of rejoicing in His kingdom. Are we going about our lives in the world making this good news known in what we say and in what we do? Or do we kept it to ourselves, locked in our hearts, because we are afraid of what people around us may say or do if we take the chance, and open our hearts to them, and tell them of the hope in us, the life of Christ?

Brothers and sisters, let us not allow fear of what others may think of us, or say to us, or do to us, keep us from doing what we are called to do. May God grant us grace and strength to go forth each day with the love of Christ in our hearts, so that we may show Him risen from the dead and living in us, so that others may come to know Him through us, and sing with us the triumphal hymn, “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tomb bestowing life!”

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