Believe Without Seeing
This first Sunday after Easter Sunday often doesn't get the attention it might. We have reached the climax of our liturgical year and we might be excused for feeling that not much happens from here on for a while. Not so.
This is the beginning of an important period of spiritual significance. This is the time we just might start to 'get it'. This is the time we struggle, as did the early disciples, with the meaning of it all.
This is the time we stand for a moment with the Thomas in all of us and balk at the suggestion and ask: How could this be? What does it mean? How am I to respond?
Henri Nouwen, in Jesus a Gospel, writes of Jesus and the appearances:
"What does Jesus tell them? Not that death and the dissolution of life are unreal. Nor that their yearning for freedom is unreal. No: in what he says he takes seriously not only death and dissolution but their longing for freedom as well. He tells them that the Jesus on whom they had pinned their hopes, the Jesus who was indeed dead and buried, this Jesus is alive. He tells them that for the Jesus whom they had admired so much, death and dissolution have become the way to liberation. And he says this in such a way that they sense in their inner most selves that his way can become their way too."
We see that it is not that we are to worship Jesus, but that we are to become like Jesus. We are to become fully human as he was fully human. We are already spiritual beings, we are made in the image and likeness of God, following Jesus we are to become fully human.
Jesus shows us how to be who we are. He shows us that we can trust that God is constantly revealed within our ordinary lives. Thomas didn't get it anymore than many of us do. Surely this man couldn’t have been God? Thomas wanted something extraordinary, some proof, some way to hold that this could be possible.
Richard Rohr writes in Soul Brothers:
"God comes to us disguised as our own life, which seems to be the last place we want God to be. It is all too ordinary, mundane, fleshy, and unspiritual. It is just 'me' and just 'you' and just daily life. It is both the perfect hiding place and the perfect revelation place for the Holy One".
And later in the same chapter on 'The Human One' he writes:
"I am utterly convinced that Jesus did not intend to found a religion at all, much less an imperialist religion in competition with any other religion. Jesus is a universal message of vulnerability that all religions need to meet God authentically, in order to maintain their own humanity and keep from destroying one another. Jesus came to make a confounding statement about us, and we have avoided that message by trying to make profound statements about him… the spiritual genius and daring of Jesus are that he finds God in the most universal place of all. He absolutely levels the playing field. He finds God where the suffering is… there is no spiritual loyalty test going on in the ministry of Jesus. Not a single one of his healings depends on worthiness – just naked humanity responding to naked humanity…Jesus wants real life for real people, and he knows that all true life is one and the same – because he has passed through the shadow and disguise of death: 'He is risen from death, he has gone ahead of you into Galilee. It is there that you will see him. Now I have told you'. " (Matthew 28:7)
Let it be that this Sunday and every day, we might believe without seeing.
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Copyright © Kate Englebrecht, Mission Possible Education