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Father Muench Says...

Easter Season is a time of hope

May 8, 2019

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Today, I would like to consider hope. I believe that hope is rather badly needed now. This world of ours is in need of confidence in our God, confidence to support us and to guide us as we move into our future. This will only be possible when we strengthen our faith in our God. With God’s help, we will recognize the many opportunities we have now for making our future good and alive.

This Easter Season is meant to be a time of hope. The celebration of Jesus’ resurrection is the foundation of our faith in the Lord – the Lord will show us the way. Now the Church focuses our attention on the celebration of the Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit – a celebration of hope.

The Gospel stories that are read at Mass during the Easter Season help us to understand how the apostles and the disciples of Jesus struggled. There was the sadness and disappointment of Jesus’ crucifixion, which was transformed by the joy and celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus’ resurrection brought a new hope for them in a joyful future.

A good example is the Thomas story. You remember this Gospel reading from the Second Sunday of Easter. It is fairly obvious in this story Thomas was truly disturbed by the crucifixion of Jesus; it truly destroyed his faith in God. So he went off by himself. He was trying to decide just what he should now do, when Jesus first appeared to the other apostles. He was upset and angry. So, when he returns to join the others, they joyfully told him that they had seen the resurrected Jesus. Thomas responds with anger: “I will not believe unless I see the Lord – I will not believe unless I can put my finger into the nail holes and touch the slash in his side.”

Then Jesus appears again, and now Thomas was present. I can only imagine the conversion of heart that Thomas experiences at that moment. The presence of Jesus brings a new life to him – a new determination. I suspect that he nearly shouted, “My Lord and my God.” This moment would be repeated through the centuries. Many will be like Thomas, disappointed and angry for one reason or another and completely without hope, and they find faith and hope, just as Thomas did through the presence of Jesus.

However, Jesus presents a new challenge to all of us – an expectation of our faith. Jesus says, “Thomas, have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” This is the lifelong challenge for you and I. We must ask ourselves, “do I have the faith to recognize the presence and the love of my crucified Savior – even if I do not see him personally?” Only then will I develop the hope and confidence to make myself a true disciple of the Lord and the faith to do something to make my life all it should be; only then can I truly make a difference in this world.

I realize well that with faith in Jesus, He directs my spirit to realize the hopes that I must work toward in my life. I have realized that Jesus has directed my thoughts and my writing and my homilies to work towards peace – a peace for this world, a peace for each person. I must encourage each person I meet to live with peace without anger, to speak with peace without anger and to remove anger and grudges from life. I have further discovered that I must direct all I do in some way to preach against violence in the hearts and souls of all that God brings into my life.

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