Peace be unto you.
Second Sunday of Easter B

Frank Enderle
Reproduced with Permission

Our Gospel Reading today tells us that on the first day of the week, in other words on Sunday, the Apostles were in a house with the doors locked, in a room that we all know today as the Cenacle. They were afraid of many things and many people but especially of the Jewish authorities. Suddenly, Jesus entered. And standing among them, he said, “Peace be unto you.” We can imagine the joy, the peace, and all of the other emotions that were felt first by the Most Holy Virgin, as a mother, and then by the Apostles and all of the other people gathered there who loved Him so much. We know the sadness, the defeat, the powerlessness and the disappointment that all of them felt on the day that the Lord died on the Cross. The presence of the Risen Christ among them calmed their fears and their faith was strengthened once again. During Holy Week, when Jesus was detained, flogged and crucified, they felt alone and forsaken. They experienced the pain of having lost someone that they loved so much. They were confused and their faith was weak.

We can get a small idea of what those people gathered in the Cenacle must have felt, if we think about how we would feel if a loved one who has died suddenly appeared before us and began to speak, as the Lord did. Upon hearing the encouraging words of Jesus, all of the disciples, except for Thomas who was not among them, felt the confidence that we all feel when we see a person whom we love and in whom we can trust. The presence of Christ among them reaffirmed what He had told them on various occasions: that He would have to die and rise up from the dead on the third day.

After that first apparition, the Apostles spoke at length with Thomas about the Resurrection of the Master. But he could not believe them. Something kept him from doing so. Maybe it was all of the sadness that had built up within his heart. Maybe that was why he told the other Apostles that he would not believe until he had seen the Jesus with his own eyes and touched His wounds. A week later, the Lord appeared again in the Cenacle. This day Thomas was there. We suppose that when he saw the Lord he felt incredible joy and, at the same time, peace and confidence, seeing the one person he loved so much. But he also must have felt sadness and a little remorse when he heard the Lord say, ““Put your finger here, here are my hands; bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be an unbeliever but a believer.”

The Resurrection, the apparitions in the Cenacle, and His presence among the Apostles during the forty days before His Ascension into Heaven – all of this fit in with the plans that Jesus had for the Apostles. He had been preparing them for this for a long time. By His presence among them now, he gave them courage and strength, as He had done on many occasions during His earthly life.

Jesus knew that they would have to continue the task of building the church that He founded. They would proclaim to all the nations the Good News. But before they went about that mission, they had to receive the grace and the gifts of the Holy Spirit that would strengthen them.

The disciples and the first Christians lived their faith intensely. Thanks to the testimony that they gave, we Christians today continue to believe in the glorious Resurrection of the Lord. Thanks to them, we feel the same peace and joy that they felt, knowing that the Risen Christ is always among us. Thanks to them we can joyfully say: Christ is Risen! Alleluia!