2nd Sun Easter B
Christian conversion is promoted by conversation. This section is a response to and a development on the knowledge gained from the commentary section.
This Sunday's Exposition
That you may believe. In the ending of this Sunday’s Gospel, the author tells us that he has written so that we may believe. Throughout the Gospel we have stories of Jesus encountering individuals, bringing them to belief, or not. This Gospel ending culminates in Thomas’ act of adoration: ‘My Lord and my God!’ - but look at what he adores – a pierced man! Thomas’ demand to thrust his hands into the wounds of Jesus seems grotesque. Caravaggio’s painting (click red text) of this scene is almost repulsive, yet, yet there is something ‘right’ about Thomas’ disbelieving demand. He doesn’t want a saviour who has passed over all that happened in this life: he wants a saviour who bears the wounds of his brutal horrific death, who shows just what humanity did to him. This is not a Saviour, a God, who has made all things better by forgetting what had happened, as though it was a nightmare best forgotten. This is a truly extraordinary Saviour who can transform human pain, grief and sin into something greater. One of the paradoxes of our faith is the challenge to honour suffering as a sharing in the Passion of Christ while doing everything we can to alleviate suffering.
We all have griefs that have seared us in two. If we have not, wait, they will come. Marriage problems, profound injury, death of a child, mental illness, our own or of someone we love – we each know our own pain. Jesus’ Resurrection does not take away our griefs. Jesus does not kiss our wounds and make them ‘all better’ that we may forget them. Our griefs have their role in making us God’s work of art, no matter how much we may not like this. Jesus wears his wounds as signs of glory, for through them the power of God has been revealed. We need to recognise that our own wounds are the place where God’s glory is being revealed in our lives. As we go on in faith, a day will come when we too will be able to show our wounds as signs of faith: God’s faith in us and ours in God.