All Saints Parish Newsletter
Sunday’s readings include these words from Revelation:
"Look, he is coming with the clouds;
every eye will see him; even those who pierced him…."
They echo words we heard from St. John on Good Friday:
"And they shall look on him whom they have pierced," which themselves echo the prophecy of Zechariah.
We hear them this Sunday in conjunction with Jesus showing his wounds to his disciples and then to Thomas who had been absent and had demanded to see what they had seen if he was to believe.
They are words we are used to hearing in Advent as w sing Charles Wesley’s hymn, "Lo! He comes with clouds descending."
"Every eye shall now behold him
Robed in dreadful majesty;
Those who set at nought and sold him,
Pierced and nailed him to a tree,
Shall the true Messiah see.
Those dear tokens of his passion
Still his dazzling body wears,
Cause of endless exultation
To his ransomed worshippers:
With what rapture
Gaze we on those glorious scars."
There is a note of judgemnent here which must have been felt by disciples who had abandoned their Lord. But Jesus comes not to condemn but to empower them with his Spirit for their share in his continuing mission.
But what of us who have not seen the risen Christ? John was writing for people in the same situation. He describes a setting which would have been familiar to readers in his church and to us. The scene in the upper room has echoes of Christian worship down the ages: the gathering on the first day of the week; Jesus coming to them; his greeting: "Peace be with you"; his showing of his wounds; the response of faith.
Like Thomas, we may say that we cannot believe until we have physical proof. But Jesus comes to us in the Eucharist, the sacrament of his body and blood: he shows us the wounds of his self-offering on the cross. These reveal both our sinfulness and the love which overcomes that rejection. We reach out and touch him as we receive his body and blood in Holy Communion. We know his risen presence.
"Blessed are those wh have not seen and yet have believed."
Yours in the risen Christ,