The Easter Season marks a time of new beginning in the Church, a time to rejoice. However, mixed with the joy of new life comes the sometimes heavy burdens of our ordinary lives. If we limit our thoughts only to the positive aspects of the new life of Easter, we may neglect the realities around us. If we view life only through the lens of all that burdens us, we may lose hope in the Divine Mercy Providence. Jesus gave new meaning to the burdens that we carry as he conquered suffering and death and gave us the promise of Resurrection to new life.
After hearing today’s Gospel we recognize that the disciples had many fears and doubts, not only Thomas, but all of the disciples. Peter and another disciple had gone to the tomb in the morning at the request of Mary Magdalen. She was the first to view the empty tomb but they also saw it. Later they again heard from Mary Magdalene that the Risen Lord had appeared to her, still, they did not fully understand all that had happened.
Why are we hearing about the uncertainty of the disciples? Of what importance is this to the Resurrection, the giving of the Holy Spirit, and the mission of the Church? People who are not sick don’t need a doctor. Only in acknowledging our weaknesses, doubts, and needs can we be receptive to God’s plan of redemption. It is precisely because of our fears or doubts that we long for the peace that Jesus offers. The disciples were ordinary people, and in their weaknesses, perhaps we can recognize something of ourselves.
”Peace be with you” were the first words the disciples heard from the Risen Lord. His gift to them was to breathe the Holy Spirit upon them giving them new spiritual life. Commissioned by Jesus, they were sent into the world to tell others about the saving power of Jesus, to baptize, and to heal others by forgiving their sins. Through their encounter with the Risen Lord the disciples no longer doubted, but came to believe and live the mission of Christ on earth.
We all face encounters, events and people that can create distress and leave us in fear, but Thomas , John , Peter and the other disciples teach us today that Jesus came to liberate us from our spiritual and emotional prison of fear. Jesus invites us to embrace the peace he offers and join with the other believers, who walk with confidence knowing the peace of Jesus dispels any fears. Jesus’ desire for us to enjoy his peace is echoed in his words when he told Sister Faustina, in one his appearances to her: “my child, life on earth is a struggle indeed; a great struggle for the kingdom. But fear not, because you are not alone “(diary, #1488)
God bless you all
Your brother in Christ