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As he appears amongst his disciples who are hidden behind locked doors, we hear Jesus say “Peace be with you.” Not just once but three times. Except he wouldn't have used these words, would he? It is much more likely he would have said something much closer to “Shalom”.

We can often think of peace in a quite negative sense: the absence of conflict or problems, of not being bothered. “Shalom” however is a much richer word, its Hebrew roots mean “completeness, soundness, welfare” as well as peace. It is a word that can be used to express both an external peace between two parties and also to an internal sense of peace within the individual. When Jesus appears saying “Shalom” he is showing that God is still working in the world, still active through his Risen Son. What could possibly get in the way of their joy of God's presence. Shalom meant everything was right in God's world. They accept, make real, the "Shalom" of Jesus, for they witness God's activity in the world. Fear left them, for now they believed. Joy entered their hearts. Thomas misses out on the first occasion Jesus appeared to them and we can understand how he must have felt; they had all been on the same journey so how come he had missed out on this gift of Shalom from Jesus. In the end he is there when Jesus returns to the room and he too is overcome with Joy. Perhaps Thomas stands in the place of those who are waiting for the call of Shalom in their lives and our place is to demonstrate it active in our own so others may believe. Shalom!

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