SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR B 10th / 11th April, 2021

The importance of today’s gospel story is shown by the fact that it led to the original conclusion of John’s gospel. The story proper falls into two parts; the appearance of the risen Lord to the assembled disciples on the first Easter Day and his appearance before Thomas a week later. John presents Jesus’ resurrection, his giving of the Spirit and the commissioning of the disciples in a single unified sequence. By contrast, the gospel-writer Luke introduces a time-span of forty days before Jesus’ ascension, and fifty days before the outpouring of the Spirit. Each is communicating the same profound truth within a different theological framework. The text for today can be sub-divided into four parts. In part one, Jesus appears to the fear-filled disciples and greets them with peace. This twofold greeting should be given strong emphasis. Part to consists of Jesus’ commissioning the disciples and breathing out his Spirit upon them. Part three relates the encounter between the risen Lord and the apostle Thomas, culminating in words that implicate us: “Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe’. The reading comes to a climax with the final summary of the gospel’s purpose: “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name”. Each part should be heard by the congregation as a distinct unit. The reading as a whole is a wonderful invitations to renew our faith in Jesus and to live in the peace and joy of his Spirit.