Easter 2 - Year A
Teachings have a way of rolling on (the communication technique of “forward pacing” helps store said teachings until they are needed later). I wonder how many times Jesus had to teach and teach again a sense of peace in the midst of every occasion. Most of us can whomp up a good fear in the friendliest of situations and so the number was probably pretty high, like daily, like bread.
Notice how the passage reinforces this teaching of peace. It is said, for the aural learners. It has the picture of sending and being sent for visual learners. It was breathed on them for the kinesthetic learner. In the aftermath of a crucifixion and surprising emptiness of tomb, fear quotients were probably pretty high. This is experiential time, not doctrinal time, and, hopefully, we will return again to our experiences in spite of the accumulated doctrines.
Notice also that there is physical body stuff here and it is easy to get side-tracked on it rather than on the experience of peace.
When we are peaceful enough amid life's hurried ways, we can hear a question beyond the literal words - who would want to retain a sin if forgiveness and dismissal of sin were a real option?
Imagine what happens to the disciples during the elipsis of a week between visits of Jesus' teaching of peace. How did it go with Thomas and Mary and Peter and the rest? Did they get hung up on what they had seen of their fear of wounds? Some saw his hands, some his side, some his feet or scalp (even though not mentioned), just like the old story of blind folks describing an elephant. Thomas could bring lots of critical questions and wedge issues. Had the mood in the room changed from fear of authorities to fear of one another?
And why does Thomas get the extra opportunity to touch wounds when a week earlier they just got to see wounds? Oh, the opportunities for community breaking are numerous and constant.
So what do you think was written here that would get you to believe Jesus to be a faithful teacher of ways to G*D? Was it body imagery? Was it the reminder of peace? Was it a community brought back to focus on going forth instead of arguing among themselves? Which of these, or another, is most persuasive to you.
Whichever it might be, remember to laugh with recognition when reminded of that ancient teaching of peace. The laughter will be as important as the teaching or enactment of same.