|“Doubting Thomas” by Carl Heinrich Bloch|
Easter creates a new space and a new moment of encounter. No longer are we left abandoned (orphans) in the losses and sorrow of life. The Lord is risen! God abandons no one and neither is God resigned to accept death and lose as the final answer. The risen Lord comes to his friends hiding behind the locked doors of fear, resignation and sorrow. The risen Lord shows them his wounds and by so doing heals their wounds and gives a peace that the world cannot give. It is only though the resurrection that the very wounds and losses of life become places of encounter rather than abandonment. This is the new space and the new moment of encounter created by Easter. We can now meet God in our wounds because God has become wounded and even accepted death for our sake. And God has overcome death! “Peace be with you,” says the risen Lord to his disciples in today’s gospel (Jn. 20:19-31). When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
Thomas, we are told, was not there at that first encounter with the risen Lord. Thomas would not believe. “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Thomas was not a bad man nor was he a mediocre disciple. Thomas was honest. He was hurting. His love for Christ and his hope in Christ had been crushed by the sheer violence and weight of the cross and the tomb. He was resigned to the belief that death and violence were, in fact, the final answer in this world. Thomas had loved the Lord yet now, seemingly, that love was lost. Thomas was left wounded – his heart hurting and hardening.
How often we are like Thomas. We are not bad people nor are we necessarily mediocre disciples yet the wounds of life occur and resignation sets in. We sincerely proclaim ourselves Christian yet we hold on to that, “Unless I see…” of a hurting and hardening heart. We seek to be good people, we strive to do right by others, we do honestly love and care yet wounds come and in differing ways we begin to lock ourselves behind closed doors and we begin to accept the resignation of our world. We might proclaim Christ yet we find it easy to live as if Easter never occurred.
Today, on this Divine Mercy Sunday, the Gospel proclaims to us that God does not abandon! Death, violence and resignation are not the final answer! New life is possible! Live in the joy and truth of Easter and shake off the false logic of our world! The mercy received through Easter is not a mercy meant to kept locked away indoors. Divine Mercy is a mercy meant to transform the world, beginning with us. We begin to be transformed when we begin to not be resigned.
Our Lord says to Thomas, “Peace be with you … Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving but believe.”
“…do not be unbelieving but believe.”
Thomas responds, “My Lord and my God!”