How did the Good News spread?
Our first Gospel after Easter is a familiar one: John tells the story of Jesus’ first appearances to the disciples in a locked upper room where they are hiding out of fear for their lives. Peace be with you, he says, not once but twice. Peace – the Peace of God, Peace they will need to be ready for their mission. The following week, although the greeting is the same – Peace be with you – Thomas wants further proof, and simply seeing Jesus’ wounds is enough to cause him to offer a profound testimony of absolute faith: My Lord and my God. But Jesus knows there will be many to come who will not have this opportunity to see him: Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed. We might count ourselves among that number… so how do we come to believe?
The Word of God first came to us in the body of Jesus; it was carried forth by the disciples in the form of healings done in Jesus’ name, the signs and wonders done among the people at the hands of the apostles as described in Acts. Their profound faith in the power of Jesus’ name, the power of God among them, allows the apostles to manifest all that they believe, and through them, God’s power is made manifest – even in the very ephemeral nature of a shadow – such that great numbers of men and women were added to them. It was the faith of these individuals, living in the peace of God, who gave testimony, both in words and in deeds, that caused the Church to grow, and that caused the people of their time to say, echoing Psalm118, His mercy endures forever – a call to praise that becomes their own testimony, meant to light the fires of belief in others as well.
The Word of God remains with us, among other ways, in written form. The Book of Revelation gives further testimony to Jesus in the writings of John, whose visions inspired faith and offered consolation, encouragement, and peace to a church under persecution. Like Thomas, Peter, and John, we too are called to give testimony to the power of God’s love at work in our lives, and to sing the praise of God whose work (and Word) is wonderful in our eyes… May your Easter season be filled with peace and inspire you to just such testimony, so that all may be glad and rejoice, and so that the entire world may come to believe!
This post is based on Fr. Pat's Scripture class.
Image source: Wordle