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Show Me!

Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe
Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 118:2-4,13-15,22-24; 1Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31

Sermon Week Second Sunday of Easter Cycle A

Scripture Summary John 20:29

Some sportswriters dubbed the 1985 world series as the "Show Me" series. The two teams -- the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals -- both were from Missouri, and Missouri is known as the "Show Me" state. This nickname can be traced all the way back to a speech made by a Missouri congressman named Hillard Duncan Vandiver. Speaking in Philadelphia in 1899, Vandiver said, "Frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me!"

The disciple Thomas was from Missouri, in this sense. He was a "show me" kind of guy. He refused to rely on a second-hand report of the Resurrection. He said that he would have to be shown the imprint of the nails in Jesus' hands and the wound in Jesus' side before he would believe. For this reason, he is often referred to as "Doubting Thomas."

In today's Gospel story of Jesus' appearance to a group of his disciples after the Resurrection, St. John records the touching encounter between Jesus and "doubting Thomas." "We have seen the Lord," the disciples tell Thomas. But Thomas is not ready to accept the reality of Resurrection. "Unless I see the holes that the nails made in His hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into His side, I refuse to believe" (John 20:25). "Eight days later," the story continues, "Jesus came in and stood among them. 'Peace be with you,' He said. Then he spoke to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe'" (John 20:26,27).

Put your hand in Mine! Feel Me! Touch Me! See, Thomas, I'm real! I have risen! Thomas, face reality!

We need only listen to Thomas' response to know that indeed he had felt and touched his way to reality: "My Lord and my God!" Jesus answers, "You believe because you can see Me. Happy are those who have not seen and yet [...]

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