Saturday, April 18, 2020

The First Sunday after Easter - Low Sunday - 19 April 2020

My Friends,

Peace, "said Jesus to his disciples.
 "As the Father sent Me, so I send you."
 And after those words He breathed on them. "Receive the Holy Spirit," said He.
(John 20: 19-22)

 The (dis) believer Thomas

 Can we just accept Jesus' resurrection? Are doubts normal in this case? Now when you talk to people about that, then you usually get no more than a shrug or a sympathetic smile of incomprehension in response. Do you still believe that? It is also not easy for those who still hold on to the resurrection faith to imagine what you actually believe. The apostle, known as the "infidel" Thomas, and this one time starring in the gospel of John, struggles with the same thing. Thomas shows that this is not is only a problem of our time ... What do we actually know about this Thomas, he comes into the picture for the first time when Jesus 'friend Lazarus is dying, they are on their way to Jerusalem, where danger threatens Jesus' life. Thomas then says, "Let us go with Him to die with Him." Everyone may know one of those impulsive and convincing statement from his or her life, like: for that person or job I am fully committed, however without knowing the sequel. Likewise with Thomas who questions things and becomes insecure. At the Last Supper when Jesus said, "You all know my commission and know where I am going,"  Thomas asks (whatever the others probably thought): 'Lord, where are you going, we don't know, and how would we know your way '? Everything Thomas planned to do with Jesus collapses on that particular evening, what before so obvious and clear now became cloudy and impossible. For each of us, there are moments in his or her life on which everything is also questioned and is put into question. You have believed and trusted all your life pronounced in the Lord, and then suddenly you get the message to stay at home that you may be sick  because of a Pandemic or that you are terminally ill, or that someone you love dies, that something completely fails, or that you have lost your job, in short, you are disappointed so that you do not have a way out and future can see more. Thomas was in such a situation and says in this story after the catastrophe of the cross and the resurrection the familiar words: "Only if I see the wounds of the nails in his hands, and if I can put my hand in his side, I will believe '. He had heard the message but lack faith, those words would not come out of our mouth as well because they just reflect our own feelings? Because it is precisely the 'wounds' in our lives that affect us make it so difficult - all those injuries, injustices, diseases, failures, etc. Why all that? Why God, why?

 That is often our question and our call for help! But when I see the risen Lord with his wounds, I don't feel God ignores the open wounds in my life, but that He carries them with me ... That He alone has the strength to heal 'life wounds' and thus become a source of new life. Thomas also realizes that, which is why he is not concerned more about understanding, no, he sees and feels the wounds of Jesus and then realizes who is before him. "My Lord and my God!" Now it becomes clear to him that you cannot "understand" and control the risen Lord just as you cannot control love. "Blessed are those who do not see, and yet believe," said Jesus; for me that also means: Blessed are those who don't think they control the world and their lives themselves (just look at the situation we are in now!), but hope for love and support for people and count on the strength of Jesus.

 Thomas, good old Thomas, so recognizable and realistic he is really our twin brother, he is the image of the insecure man today, the man who does not know what to do with suffering, setback and with all that is mystery.

 Father Ed Bakker,
 Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province,
 Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne,
 Launceston, Tasmania,

No comments: