Easter Sunday2 C (11 Apr 2010)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Twins of the Twin
Every three years the second reading at Sunday masses in the Easter Season is from the Book of Revelation. It is not about dating the end of the world. The Book of Revelation is about seeing. It is one person’s graced vision of heaven. The vision is not only the revelation about Messiah Jesus, the vision reveals him: “Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever.” The Eucharist, this season’s sacrament along with baptism, nourishes this vision and deepens it in all Christians who let it. To see this, to soak oneself in this vision consoles and comforts despite appearances the contrary all around us: war; hunger; pestilence; disease; racism; poverty; and fears we can’t imagine afflicting others.
The first hearers of the Book of Revelation suffered sharply for their faith in dead and risen Messiah Jesus. We differ from them in that, one reason its vision is alien to us, as well as its symbolic world—the way it expressed convictions about God. John wrote his vision to comfort those who suffered for their faith. Suffering and comfort and strengthening faith united them and is vital to the message of John, who found [himself] on [that eastern Mediterranean] island called Patmos.
One facet of their relationship was the Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit and their living love overflowing into all creation. In Jesus the Trinity holds the keys to death and the netherworld. Do we believe that? Do we rest in the Trinity?
Another facet of relationship is that which Jesus has with John and each Christian: “Do not be afraid.” Jesus does not want any of us to fear because Jesus lives for us no more to die. Jesus encourages us by proclaiming to us that he lives for us forever. Risen Jesus is a commanding presence.
Jesus desires us to proclaim God’s word with our lives and to give testimony to Jesus in our relationships. That is not always easy, and it always demands our effort. At times proclaiming God’s word hurts. Jesus warned that experiences of suffering mark the Christian life. I wonder if the first disciples imagined they would encounter fear as their first experience of suffering so early in their lives. The first disciples are a pattern for disciples in every age from theirs to ours.
On the first Easter evening the disciples’ fear bonded and united them. Jesus dispelled their fear with his breath and his words, “Peace be with you.” Our faith, which relates us to the first disciples, makes us twins of Thomas called the Twin. Fear often grips us. We begin to move beyond our fear when we are honest about it and allow Jesus to visit us, to stand in the midst of our inmost selves and invite our belief, our seeing with the eyes of our souls, which is a sight more real than with the eyes of our heads.
Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, [God’s Son], and that through this belief you may have life in his name. We can count our relationships among those signs through which Jesus reveals himself to us and offers us true life.
In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week, pause in the presence of our triune God. Ask Thomas to present you to Jesus. Converse with Jesus: consider saying what you feel you hide from Jesus. Praise him for his patient attention to you. Ask Jesus, the one who lives, for the grace to be alert to his presence in your distress as well as joy; and for the endurance to be his disciple in our world today. Close by saying slowing the Lord’s Prayer, which shapes us to offer peace with generosity rather than fear.
Wiki-image of Thomas' confession is in the public domain.