April 8, 2015
By Father William Muench
Easter joy – I wish you all the peace and love that Jesus brought to our world through his Resurrection.
Jesus came to this world to be one of us, the incarnate Savior. He came among us to experience all that it is to be human. For Jesus, that would even mean suffering as well as death. We celebrated this during Holy Week.
Now, it is time to celebrate Easter, the Resurrection of our crucified Savior. Jesus found new life in God and through his Resurrection he won for us a like resurrection and new life. We are a Resurrection people. In the Gospels, the Resurrection stories are certainly the most fascinating and memorable in the Bible.
I am certain that you remember the resurrection story about Thomas the Apostle. After the Resurrection of Jesus, Jesus came to be with the apostles. They were gathered in the Upper Room, the place where Jesus and the apostles celebrated the Last Supper. However, at this time, Thomas was not with them.
Thomas returns, later. The others tell him that they have seen the Lord but Thomas would not believe a word of it. Thomas declares that he will not believe unless he is able to touch Jesus, touch the nail holes in his hands and the wound in his side.
Now, I would like to share with you, what I think happened. When Jesus was arrested and then crucified, Thomas, for one, was crushed in spirit. He was broken. His hopes for a kingdom – a kingdom that Jesus spoke of often – were great. And he certainly believed that he would be an important part of that kingdom right here on earth.
After the crucifixion, he separated himself from the other apostles so he was not with them the first time Jesus came to them.
When Thomas did come to join them, they excitedly told him that they has seen Jesus. Thomas simply couldn’t accept any talk of resurrection. He had lost hope after the crucifixion of Jesus. He would not believe unless he actually touched Jesus.
The next week, when Jesus returned to be with the apostles, Thomas was there. Jesus – possibly with a smile – invited Thomas to come and touch his hands and the wound in his side. Thomas in wonderment falls to his knees, “My Lord and my God.” Jesus then teaches us all a great lesson. “Thomas, you have believed because you have seen me. Blessed are those who have seen and yet believed.”
That is us, folks. We have not seen the resurrected Jesus. Yet, for so many reasons our faith in the resurrection is alive and strong. This faith gives us the power and readiness to live a life of faith and bring the message of the Lord to our part of the world.
My favorite Resurrection story is the one that concerns the two travelers on the road to Emmaus. Many have wondered who they were. I like to think that they were a married couple, a husband and wife.
As you may remember, they were walking home after the crucifixion of Jesus and were feeling very disappointed, depressed. Jesus comes along and meets them but they did not recognize that it was Jesus.
In conversation, Jesus begins to explain from Moses and all the prophets, why the Christ had to suffer and die. Such a Scriptures lesson.
Finally, they come to their village. They invite Jesus to stay with them and while he was seated with them to eat he took bread, pronounced the blessing, broke the bread and began to distribute to them. Immediately, they recognized Jesus. Jesus left their presence. The Gospel tells us that they said to each other: Were not our hearts burning inside us as he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us.
The Emmaus experience will be ours also – each and every day of our lives. Jesus wants to come to be with us as he did with the couple on the road to Emmaus.
As they recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread, through the Blessed Eucharist Jesus invites us to come into the presence of Our Lord and Savior. Each time we come to the altar of the Lord at Mass – the Lord is with us ready always to transform our lives.
At the same time, Jesus comes to be with us, in the streets of life, in our daily world. We may not recognize the Lord but, when our faith is alive with the Lord, we will realize that Jesus wants to be part of our life and longs to guide and lead us each day.