Fr. Rodrigue Azanmasso, CJM
Let us imagine a community of brothers and sisters where there is no gap between rich and poor, strong and weak, sick and healthy etc.. An ideal community you will certainly say. Of course, our day to day reality teaches us something totally different, we seem very far from these ‘’idealistic’’ communities of the first Christians, described in the first reading.
Nevertheless, are we really unable to re-create these same communities? The answer to this question will vary from one person to the other. We are not to create egalitarian communities in which differences are wiped out, but communities where the common good is really acknowledged as common good and managed in a just way so that everyone, according to his/her need, can actually profit from it. This is not a utopia, but something that is not beyond our capacity, something we can truly implement here and now.
The risen Lord is in our midst and his dialogue with Thomas in the gospel is really enlightening for us who sometimes wander in this vast world of incertitude where we can hear ourselves saying ‘’ nothing will change’’. Jesus said: “blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
The blessedness of believing without seeing came from the experience of the early Church. Jesus is not moralizing, but inviting Thomas - and us – to look at the wonderful deeds of God (most of the time unseen for our eyes) which are manifested through great people of faith, in our local communities and world-wide, who take up their cross with confidence in the resurrection. Those who have not seen the changes expected but have believed in those changes, those who despite adversity have held on to their belief and faith.
Our task is not to proclaim a disembodied Jesus, remaining in the spiritual realities, Jesus has worked, and experienced the realities of his time, he took up his cross, he was not inactive, he was very active. We Christians fall into the error today when our lives and our teachings proclaim an abstract "disembodied" Jesus, dispenser of graces and teacher of morality - we forget the historical person who was put to death for proclaiming the kingdom of God.
Thomas professes the true faith of the Church. We too must insist that the Jesus we follow is the true Jesus, the one whose risen body bears the wounds of Calvary.
Jesus is the model leader and spiritual guide. He is pleased to give Thomas the assurance he is looking for, and then challenges him to look forward to the day when he will believe without seeing - always in the Jesus who passes through death to resurrection. Let us live and proclaim a spirituality of engagement which will maintain our faith and make us move forward every time.
Happy Divine Mercy Sunday to all.