The Gospel for the Second Sunday of Easter contains the famous story of Thomas, who was not with his fellow disciples on the evening of that first Easter and was quite skeptical of their claims to have seen and talked with Jesus, risen from the dead. One week later Thomas was present when Jesus came again to be with his disciples, and Thomas went beyond the rest of them in acknowledging Jesus as Lord and God.
The remainder of this Sunday’s Gospel has a very important message. The Gospel according to John was not written for the first generation of Christians, including those who had been with Jesus during his public ministry. It was written for all who would come after that first generation so that they too “may have life in his name.” In other words, John’s Gospel was written for us.
So what does our risen Lord wish for his followers? Peace. Profound inner peace. Jesus knew that the disciples would need this peace, since he was sending them to continue his work on earth, work that would not always be easy.
And Jesus gave his followers the Holy Spirit. (In John’s Gospel, the Spirit comes on the evening after the Resurrection). The first disciples were not sent without the Spirit. Neither are we. God was always with them, and God is always with us.