I am sure that we remember the words that Jesus spoke to Thomas last week. He said to him “…do not be unbelieving, but believe.” We might see today’s Gospel, the story of the Road to Emmaus as a continuation of the Doubting Thomas story. In the Emmaus story Jesus says to the two disciples, “Oh, how foolish you are, how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke.” During this Easter season Jesus makes many apparitions. But these apparitions have a very basic purpose. As my Mom would say, they are “not for nothin’.” With each apparition He commands His followers to believe.
He demands belief. He doesn’t beg for it. He doesn’t merely suggest it. He doesn’t stop at the level of invitation. He demands it. Unbelief frustrates Him. This may seem a bit odd to us, because we humans are probably more comfortable with the idea that Jesus has to present His case to us, and then we will decide whether or not to believe in Him. However Jesus doesn’t see things the way we do. Surprise, surprise! He does not to earn or merit or belief. Actually, He judges us based on whether or not we believe. We don’t get to put Him through hoops; if anything, it is the other way around. He is always there for us, but still we doubt. While it is true that He does not force any one to believe, italso is true that He always has the last word. He always did and always will. He has the last word over Thomas, He has the last word over the Apostles, He has the last word over death and He has the last word over us. Once we realize this, that He has the last word, and that it is good for us that He has the last word and that we believing is something that He commands us to do, it will go much better for us in this life—and the next.