Apr 24, 2019
During this Easter season the church asks if our lives have been changed by our Easter experience. If that first Easter dramatically changed the lives of Jesus’ disciples, has this Easter changed us? We remember Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection, but how has another Easter experience impacted us? Has the dying and rising of Jesus made any difference in our lives? Are we spiritually “better-off” today then we were a year ago?
Today’s Gospel helps us to answer these questions. Thomas demanded to see and touch in order to believe. Jesus complied and Thomas believed. We are heirs of Thomas’ doubt and also heirs of his blessings. We cannot see and touch the wounds of the risen Jesus, but we can see and touch the wounds of the suffering brothers and sisters in our family, neighborhood and world. Jesus reminded Thomas that “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” For us today we remember that “Blessed also are we when we believe that sin and death have been conquered. Blessed are we when forgiveness makes us one, and blessed too when the Spirit impels us into the mission that allows us to share the very life of God.” [Mary McGlone, CSJ]
Becoming Easter people is always a struggle. Christianity is all about what happens when God puts on flesh and lives in our midst. People come to faith because they see something in others they have not seen before. Our challenge is to allow others to see in us the face of the risen Jesus. If they do not, they may never see him. This is the way it was with Thomas, and this is the way it will be with each of us. Responsibility for our brothers and sisters is basic to our faith---as basic as Baptism.
If we dare to say, “I believe in Easter, I believe in Jesus Christ who rose from the dead,” we have come to believe that the Resurrection goes on and on and on forever. Every time Jesus rises in our own hearts in new ways, the Resurrection happens again. Every time we see Jesus where we did not recognize him before--in the faces of the poor, in the love of the unloved, in the mystical moments of life, Jesus rises anew. The real proof of the Resurrection lies not in the transformation of Jesus alone, but in the transformation awaiting us who accept it. [This paragraph is part of an Easter reflection by Joan Chittister, OSB]
In various parts of the world, people are victimized by war, hunger and disease. Children go to bed hungry, and thousands die of starvation. We encounter the education and health care needs of the poor, the basic needs of the elderly and the cry of the homeless. When all the needs of the poor are truly seen with sensitive eyes and touched with caring hands, then we, like Thomas, are invited to put our fingers on those wounds. Then one believer at a time, transformed by the love of Jesus, we begin to change attitudes, priorities and prejudices.
We believe that the Easter experience that changed Thomas will change us. That change demands that we promote peace not war, faith in place of doubt and forgiveness rather than anger or revenge. That change reaches out to victims of hunger and disease, whether they are neighbors across the street or across the world.With renewed energy and grace we begin, for the 2019th time, to renew the face of the earth one heart, one mind and one spirit at a time. We become aware that Easter changed everything, and this Easter has changed us. We are Easter people because we believe that Jesus lives! And so do we---in him, for him, through him.
~ Deacon Wilson Shierk