My dear brothers and sisters, today’s Gospel reading from John 20:19-31 is a powerful message of hope, courage, and faith in the resurrected Christ. This passage is especially relevant to those of us who are socially and economically poor, living in third-world countries, and struggling to make ends meet.
In this passage, we see the disciples locked away in fear after the crucifixion of Jesus. They were afraid of the authorities, and they did not know what the future held. But Jesus appeared to them, even though the doors were locked, and he said, “Peace be with you.” He showed them his hands and his side, and the disciples were overjoyed.
The message of Jesus’ appearance to his disciples is one of hope and courage. Jesus came to them in their fear and uncertainty, and he brought them peace. In the same way, Jesus comes to us in our moments of fear and uncertainty, and he brings us peace.
But Jesus also showed the disciples his wounds. He showed them the scars on his hands and side, the wounds that he had endured for their sake. This is a powerful message for those of us who are socially and economically poor. Jesus understands our pain, our struggles, and our hardships. He knows what it is like to suffer and to be rejected. And yet, he overcame all of this through his resurrection.
The message of Jesus’ wounds is also a message of solidarity. Jesus identifies with those who suffer, and he calls us to do the same. As followers of Christ, we are called to be a voice for the voiceless, to stand up for those who are marginalized, and to work for justice and peace.
Finally, we see in this passage the importance of faith. Thomas, who was not with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them, was skeptical when they told him about it. But when Jesus appeared to him and showed him his wounds, Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus then said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
For those of us who are socially and economically poor, faith is often all we have. We may not have material wealth, but we have faith in a God who loves us and cares for us. We may not have power or influence, but we have faith in a God who is all-powerful and who can do great things.
We also have these calls for the governments, church leaders, and common people of faith in response to the message of John 20:19-31:
For the Governments to:
Increase support for social and economic programs that assist those who are socially and economically poor, especially in third-world countries. This can include increasing funding for education, healthcare, and job training programs, as well as providing support for small businesses and community development projects.
Work to address systemic injustices that perpetuate poverty and inequality, such as corruption, discrimination, and lack of access to resources. This can involve implementing policies and initiatives that promote fairness and equality, such as anti-corruption measures and affirmative action programs.
Foster an environment of religious tolerance and understanding, where people of all faiths can live and work together in peace. This can include promoting interfaith dialogue and cooperation, as well as protecting the rights of minority religions and promoting religious freedom.
For the Church Leaders to:
Speak out against social and economic injustices that perpetuate poverty and inequality, and advocate for policies and initiatives that promote fairness and equality. This can involve using your platform to raise awareness and educate others about these issues, as well as supporting and partnering with organizations that work to address them.
Foster a culture of compassion and solidarity within your congregations, where people of all backgrounds feel welcome and valued. This can involve reaching out to those who are socially and economically marginalized and offering support and assistance to those in need.
Encourage and support interfaith dialogue and cooperation, as a means of promoting peace and understanding between different religions and cultures. This can involve organizing interfaith events and initiatives, as well as partnering with other religious organizations to address common social and economic challenges.
For the Common People of Faith to:
Educate yourself and others about social and economic issues that impact those who are socially and economically poor, especially in third-world countries. This can involve reading and learn about these issues, as well as engaging in conversations with others to raise awareness and promote understanding.
Take action to support and assist those who are socially and economically marginalized, such as volunteering with local organizations that provide assistance and support. This can involve donating time, resources, or skills to help those in need, as well as advocating for policies and initiatives that promote fairness and equality.
Foster a culture of compassion and solidarity within your own communities, by reaching out to those who are socially and economically marginalized and offering support and assistance. This can involve getting involved in community initiatives and projects, as well as supporting and partnering with local organizations that work to address social and economic challenges.
In conclusion, my dear brothers, and sisters, let us take heart from this powerful message of hope, courage, and faith in the resurrected Christ. Let us remember that Jesus understands our pain, our struggles, and our hardships. Let us stand in solidarity with those who suffer and let us work for justice and peace. And let us hold fast to our faith, knowing that through it all, God is with us, bringing us peace, hope, and new life. Amen.