Acts 4:32-35 John 20; 19-31
The Resurrection of Jesus transformed the world in ways that we will never fully comprehend. It was an act of pure and unconditional love of God for us, in which God embraced us and became one of us, suffered and died for our sake, and rose so that we too can share eternal life. Before the Resurrection the most devout lived in hope that the Messiah would come and free them from earthly oppression and bondage, but after the resurrection came the realization by the apostles, disciples and those who came to believe in Jesus that Jesus is the Messiah who gave us so much more; more than was ever imagined. Jesus, through his death and resurrection, gives us complete forgiveness of our sins and the gift of eternal life. The Apostles themselves did not understand who Jesus truly was until after the resurrection. In the Gospel account of the Transfiguration Jesus instructed Peter, James and John not to tell anyone until he had “risen from the dead” and we are told that they did not know what he meant. After the resurrection they began to understand the meaning of the experience on the mountain with Jesus, Moses and Elijah. Faith in Jesus brings us into the reality that for the faithful “life does not end, it merely changes.”
The resurrection of Jesus and how it changed the world was not easy to accept at first. The Gospel describes the disciples on that first Easter locked in the upper room in fear, as if in a tomb. Jesus enters the room despite the locked doors and stands in their midst. He greets them with words of peace and it seems that they are overwhelmed by his presence. When the absent Thomas arrives afterwards, they can’t wait to tell him that Jesus is truly risen and that he had visited them in this upper room. We are all too familiar with response that resulted with Thomas being forever known as “doubting Thomas.” A week later they are still in the upper room and the doors are still locked. This room has truly become their tomb. They are still in fear and afraid to go out even after the experience of seeing the Risen Lord. Jesus appears again and takes Thomas on the words he spoke to the rest of the disciples a week earlier, and invites him to put his hands in the wounds. Thomas has seen enough and he then makes a profession of faith. The disciples experienced the reality of the love and mercy of our Risen Lord, and were able to leave fear behind and venture out of the upper room.
During the Easter Season we are called to leave fear behind and to allow the love of our Risen Lord more deeply in our lives. The Risen Lord loves us and there is no reason for us to lock ourselves in our own tombs of fear. This Sunday is also known as Divine Mercy Sunday so as to reinforce the reality of the depth of God’s love for us. A love that is far greater than any fault, failing or sin that we have. His mercy is His gift to us and he is just waiting for us to accept this gift, to unwrap it and allow it to fill us with his mercy, love and peace. During Easter let us welcome the Lord and allow him to away our fears and fill us with his peace. May we continue to joyously proclaim, “Alleluia!” as a response to the gift of God’s mercy and love.
Father Killian Loch, O.S.B.
Image of the resurrection by Raphael