Show me proof
A reflection on John 20:19-31
“You’re pulling my leg!”, “I don’t believe it!” “You’re kidding!”. These are just some of the expressions we use when we don’t believe something that is being recounted to us as true. The fact that we have so many ways of expressing our disbelief suggests to me that we are conditioned to expect tangible evidence. I suspect that most of us would have reacted in the same way Thomas did when the disciples claimed to have seen the Lord in his absence.
Fortunately for Thomas, Jesus returned the following week when Thomas was there with the others and invited him to see, touch, and believe. We too, like Thomas, need to encounter the risen Jesus in tangible ways. Of course, it wasn’t just Thomas who came to believe because he had seen – all the disciples believed because they had seen the risen Lord. You and I though, are not disadvantaged because we haven’t had the exact experience they did. Our “proof” comes to us through the community of believers who reinforce that Jesus is, indeed, alive and among us because his Spirit is with us and we share in his peace.
Jesus offers us our “proofs” through the good works performed by our fellow Christians, and is present to us also in the sacrament of Holy Communion. Although we are removed from the historical reality of Jesus’ presence, we are no less able to “see” and be present to the risen Lord. The Christian life today is all about encountering the risen Christ who lives now within the Christian community, and also living the reality that the risen life is given to us to share freely with others. Our Easter joy doesn’t come from proofs; it comes from other people who are willing to struggle with the same mystery we struggle with, because what that mystery promises is new and abundant life.