Reflection for the Second Sunday of Easter, Low Sunday

‘Jesus said to Thomas….. “Do not doubt but believe.” 

Thomas replied, “My Lord and my God.” From John 20:19-end, today’s Gospel.

‘So what’s the truth about those conspiracy theories?’ Daily Mail headline, 13.3.24.

There has been much recent speculation about the health and circumstances of the Princess of Wales, following her major abdominal surgery, and conspiracy theories abound. These range from suggestions that her marriage is in trouble because she appeared without her wedding ring in the photoshopped picture issued for Mothering Sunday to rumours that she has left the country to have cosmetic surgery that’s gone wrong and that the person in the video of her at the Windsor farm shop is a body double. Rings sometimes become loose after surgery and it could be argued that much speculation could have been avoided had they simply been put back on Kate’s wedding finger for the photo but the Princess’s video about her cancer diagnosis has put an end to much of the gossip about her. Some commentators have apologised and others not but, for now, the Wales family is having a time of relative peace after so much turmoil and they, as well as the King, are in the prayers of many. 

Conspiracy theories surrounded the death of Jesus, too. These ranged from rumours that he wasn’t dead and revived in the cool tomb to suggestions that the disciples had stolen his body to make the resurrection seem true. Many others possibilities were circulated too and it’s understandable that belief in his astounding resurrection was so hard to accept. For crucifixion is a messy, dirty, chaotic business involving a bloodied body after scourging, weakened after carrying the weight of the crossbeam. Some prisoners died during the flogging, others endured for some time the excruciating pain from the nails and inability to breathe as their lungs filled with secretions affecting the heart. With the betrayal by Judas, the psychological anguish of being abandoned by his followers who fled and the piercing of the spear to ascertain his death, is it any wonder that rumours of Jesus alive were hard to accept and conspiracy theories abounded?

Into this background is added the mess and chaos of our day – those whose bodies were bloodied in the Moscow concert hall as were those of the terrorists who were caught and tortured afterwards; the seven staff killed whilst working for the World Central Kitchen who were betrayed by alleged misidentification whilst trying to bring humanitarian aid to those desperately in need of it in Gaza; those who have been abandoned, as in the Post Office scandal where reputations were lost as well as homes and livelihoods. As Pilate asked, “What is truth?” and washed his hands of the whole business, so it seems that the Post Office personnel and lawyers – one of them a priest – also abandoned the facts of the use of the Horizon software, making truth a casualty and prosecutions then resulting when there was no basis for them. With so many other issues and institutions such as the water companies giving cause for concern, there is much to make us fearful, like those first disciples who were so afraid and locked themselves away.

And yet, into it all Jesus appeared, despite the locked doors and fearfulness. Into it all, he brought peace not recrimination, despite being identified through the wounds he carried in his risen body. Into it all Jesus breathed the power of the Holy Spirit that changed lives, redeemed wrongdoing and brought fresh hope to his followers. He still appears today, too, and brings this hope when we choose to listen to him in the locked places of our hearts, lives and communities. Like Doubting Thomas, a brave man who refused to believe without seeing for himself, we may require proof – perhaps the greatest of which is the transformation of a group of scared individuals into unlikely evangelists who took the Good News into the world and whose legacy is still evident today despite the challenges it faces. In our day, will we allow doubt and events to conspire against faith or might we follow the advice of the Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin, ‘Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you.’ Who knows where that might lead and what might happen if we did? For we are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song! 

With my prayers; pob bendith,

Christine, Guardian.