Sunday, April 28, 2019

+2nd Sunday of Easter+

Thomas loved Jesus intensely, but he was the 1st to say that he didn’t always understand him, especially why he let himself be hunted down and strung up.

When Jesus was killed, Thomas was numb with grief. He didn’t have words. He needed to mourn alone. He couldn’t face the others.

He cared about them, but he was disgusted with the apostles—like many of us: disgusted with their risk avoidance, empty piety, squabbles over status, shady deals, betrayal.

Thomas couldn’t absorb any more disappointment and grief.  A week later, the next Sunday, today, he showed up. What his intense, silent love wanted, but dared not hope for, was to see Jesus alive.

In one shattering moment, the Good Shepherd comes, seeking the one who was missing—just for Thomas, just for you and me.

Thomas indulged and chided, “Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Do not doubt but believe.”

Thomas, blown away, giving voice to what he knew but never had said even to himself, “My Lord and my God!”

The link between the Jesus Thomas knew and the Risen Lord alive in the Church is the wounded side.

On Good Friday, in a total outpouring of love, water and blood flowed from his pierced heart. That Heart, as we sing in the liturgy, is “the fountain of sacramental life in the Church.”

As Jesus dies, the new Eve, the Church is taken from his side: Put your hand to where I died giving birth to My Church. Make the connection.  These flawed people are my children and my Spouse.

I know all about fear and self-doubt and betrayed love, but they are my Flesh and Blood. If you love me, you must love them.

Trust these wounds; they bring healing to others.  Trust your own wounds; they too bring healing to others. “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Our faith comes from those who have not seen a resurrection appearance but have seen and known and believed in the Risen Lord in the Church, in the breaking of the bread, in the lives of other believers:

sinners and saints [in the same person]—clergy and lay—virgins, martyrs, confessors—parents, uncles, aunts, grandfathers and grandmothers—ancestors in the faith.

Thomas is in all of us. We do not yet see in ourselves that yearning for God waiting to come to expression, waiting for the blessing on those who have not seen and have believed.

We do not know our own hearts. We do not know that our anguish at the state the Church is in is really love and that the one we love is opening his Heart to us.

It is good that our passion for God becomes conscious and finds its voice. To say that Jesus is Lord is to accept consciously his glorified humanity as the prototype of my humanity.

To say that Jesus is Lord is to be willingly molded by his mission to forgive, to reconcile, to reveal the Father—in short, to show compassion.

To believe in the Resurrection is to love the Church and to live in the Church with all the difficulties.  “Thomas, reach out your hand and put it into my side. Do not doubt but believe.”

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