This gospel is an anticipation of the birth of the church, at Pentecost, it is John’s version of it. It lays down the foundation for a group of disciples to be a church. Christ is Risen indeed but his message and cause goes on. Not an idea but Jesús lives on for all human beings and his followers must bring this message to the world. Through the power of the Holy Spirit a community is gathered, an Easter community, a community of the Risen Lord, the body of the Risen Lord. It is not so much a congregation or a company of people who come together…. as a living body of people who are called together to become the body of Christ. This church belongs to men, in a sense, for it consists of human persons. But more so this is a church of God because it comes from God and God is love and God is self-communicating. What one freely receives one freely gives. In the early Christian times, the Church had no buildings. Christians met in any house which had a room large enough to accommodate them. These gatherings were called house churches. The best known was that of Aquila and Prisca. Every home in a real sense should be a church. More importantly this church is an easter community, meaning that the members experience christ as living in their midst. It is not a spectator church. Everyone is involved in this living church and its propagation: through service, kindness and help to the poor and oppressed and most especially in the breaking of the bread. To be a leaven in society.
This ekklesia to use a more technical term is a community of believers that came from doubt and confusion. It is not a community with clear ideas of what life is all about and who Christ is for them. It grows in understanding of itself through the Holy Spirit. There is always the temptation for human beings to reduce the divinity in a category that allows them to understand it. Like Thomas he doubted the resurrection because it is not within the experience of human beings to see another come from the dead. Thomas doubted because he had his own faith to hold on to. He had his own value system, principles to be kept in life, tenets to hold on to which he learned from the temple and religious authorities since he was a young child. It definitely precludes resurrection. It is a big mistake to call those who do not belong to our church unbelievers. Perhaps our big problem is that they are all believers and that we could not convince them that our belief is better than what they have. This is most often our line of approach to those who do not belong to us. Ours is better. Jesús is the message, as Risen Lord not ideas, to be seen effective in the lives of people. And if this risen lord is effective in the lives of his followers it would show: kindness, generosity, non judgmental, total respect for others, humble and so on. but unfortunately many of us could not live what we proclaim by words. Christians must be alive themselves and life giving to others to bring to others the good message. We do not posses Christ as the disciples wished in the first days of his rising from the dead. They want to keep him the way they saw him and knew him. They want to confine Jesús inside the human ambience at their beck and call not realizing that he would be more trully risen in Spirit. Blessed are those who do not see and yet believe. True and not true. We cannot see how we want Jesús to be: modern prophet, revolutionary, defender of the oppressed, ordinary guy just like one of us etc. meaning that he should exist within our grasp. Thomas must understand that from then on Jesús will live in men and women who could say that “It is no longer I that lives but Christ lives in me as St. Paul said. Doubt is a pre-requisite to faith. The real doubt is to doubt how we personally understand ourselves, others, life, and faith: how we understand God and Jesús. It is to doubt our arrogance in insisting that our knowledge is the norm for the other. That is why we are experiencing once more the burnden of new temple authorities of our times: financial temples, church as organization, interest groups, the business temples etc. all opposed to the idea of resurrection; to the reality of another mode of existence – that there is an entire new way of existence beyond the existence human beings ever knew. Thomas must kneel before a personal Lord