Thursday, April 8, 2010

Faith in Community

Second Sunday of Easter Year C

What does the resurrection mean for each of us? For many of us, it means coming to Church on Sundays, because it is the day Jesus rose from the dead. For others, it means not having to fear death any more, because Jesus has now promised us that we will rise with him.

But today’s readings, give us another meaning and understanding of Easter. Easter is not only experienced personally by each of us but is something which must be experienced and lived out in the community.

Today’s gospel gives us the story of Thomas, one of the twelve apostles. When Jesus first appears to the apostles, Thomas isn’t there. We are not told the real reason for his absence. The death of Jesus has effected each of the apostles in a different way. Perhaps in the case of Thomas, the death of Jesus brought about his disillusionment with the community. There was no point hanging around with the others any more. Thomas has begun to doubt others, the community, the church, even perhaps God. He can only trust his own senses.

And so when Thomas insisted on seeing proofs of Jesus’ resurrection and return, he did not doubt Jesus nor the fact that he may have risen. He doubted the words of his brothers, the Christian community. Jesus appeared to the other apostles that very first day of his resurrection. He could have appeared to Thomas at any time throughout the week, but he chose not to. Jesus waited till Thomas had returned to the community. Jesus waited till Thomas was ready to accept his brothers in faith and to begin to listen to each of them. And so, it was only one week later when Thomas was with the others in that same room, that Jesus appeared and revealed himself to Thomas and to others.

For many of us, believing in God and in Jesus isn’t that difficult. But believing in the community is another matter. We often see the sinfulness, the hypocrisy and the weaknesses of others in the community. We may question whether God is really present in such a community. And so, for many us, we stay away from Church activities and from our BECs because we feel scandalized by the presence of persons living contrary lifestyles.

But, the truth of the matter is this – we can only find Jesus when we are able to see him in that community of ours. Its not a perfect community. No community is perfect. The Church is made up of sinners, just like you and I. But it is only in this broken and sinful community, that Jesus continues to be present. He is present to heal us in our sickness, to console us in our sadness, to strengthen us in our failures.

How can we see Jesus in this community? How can we recognize his presence in the Church? Our physical eyes will often deceive us as they only focus our attention on the weaknesses and sinfulness of others. We must see with the eyes of faith. This is the only way to see. Jesus tells us: “Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Like the people in the first reading, many of them saw the wonders worked by the apostles and the early Christians, but it was only those who “believed” that came to join them.

As we share this Eucharistic meal, may our eyes of faith be opened too. Let us begin to see Jesus not only in the bread and wine of the sacrifice but also in our brothers and sisters. “Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Terms of Use: As additional measure for security, please sign in before you leave your comments.

Please note that foul language will not be tolerated. Comments that include profanity, personal attacks, and antisocial behaviour such as "spamming" and "trolling" will be removed. Violators run the risk of being blocked permanently. You are fully responsible for the content you post. Please be responsible and stay on topic.