Apart from Mary’s first meeting with Jesus (John 20:14-18), there is no account in the Scriptures of anyone encountering the Risen Christ alone. Every resurrection appearance, after the first, happens when the disciples are meeting together as a group. In today’s reading, Thomas was not with the other disciples when they first saw Jesus. We are not told why he was absent, but we do know the result – he didn’t share the experience of his friends and, for more than a week, he struggled to believe. When he did finally encounter Jesus, it was when he was back in the gathering of the disciples, and this time, he found the faith he had been missing.

That week must have been hard for Thomas. While the other disciples were united in their experience of resurrection, Thomas was separated by his doubts. Yet, he continued to meet with them and stay connected with the community of faith. It couldn’t have been very comfortable for him, and he must have wondered why he had been left out. I imagine that his worst doubts were not about Jesus at all, but about himself: Had he done something wrong? Was he not worthy of an encounter with Christ? Yet, in spite of this, he did not allow his doubt and struggle to isolate him. He stayed connected, and ultimately received his own resurrection encounter.

This week, the Scriptures seek to remind us that God’s life always draws us into relationship with others. We cannot really follow Christ alone. Spirituality always requires love for God and love for one another. As you search for the Risen Christ, remember to seek him where people gather and share life together.

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