April 11, 2021 Acts 4:32-35; 1 John 5:1-6; John 20:19-31 Families and close friends help us all through life, giving us love and support, care and comfort, healing and acceptance. However, as any family member knows, if we make a fool of ourselves or say something outrageous as a child [or as an adult, for that matter], it will come back to haunt us in stories and re-enactments for the rest of our lives, and perhaps it will even result in the attachment of a nickname that recalls the event. Well, over the centuries, we have heard the nickname of “Doubting Thomas” applied to the apostle in today’s Gospel. This name was given to him because he alone, after Jesus’ resurrection, is recorded as saying: “Unless I see…and touch…I will not believe.” It sounds almost faithless; but Thomas was honest, and probably speaking for more than one of Jesus’ disciples. Jesus understands this, and invites Thomas to see, to touch and to believe. And what happens? Thomas finds that he does not have to prove to himself that Jesus is risen by looking at the wounds or touching them to be sure they are real. Rather, it is the invitation itself from Jesus to Thomas that brings forth what was already in the depths of his heart, an acknowledgment of who Jesus really is: “My Lord and my God!” Perhaps Thomas is not really the “doubter” but the one person who says what everyone else is thinking but does not have the courage to say out loud. And Thomas is rewarded with an intense experience of faith and mercy as he stands before Jesus. This faith will sustain him as the young Church begins its life in an age of persecution, misunderstanding and violence. It is this same faith that sustains us in our own age, which, sadly, has its own share of persecution, misunderstanding, and violence. Fortunately, we have our family and friends around us, and the Risen Jesus with us all the way. And this gives us the assurance of heaven, love, and God’s plan for all of us! As we continue to celebrate the Easter season, let us thank God for the gift of Jesus, who brings us life every day!