Touching the Paschal Mystery

Today is the eighth day after Easter, and the Gospel according to John documents for us the two appearances of the Risen Jesus to the Apostles gathered in the Upper Room, where on the evening of Easter Thomas was absent, and eight day later, he was present. The first time, the Lord showed them the wounds to his body, breathed on them and said: “As the Father sent me, even so I send you” (Jn 20:21). He imparts his same mission, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

But that night Thomas, who did not want to believe what the other witnessed, was not there. “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side”, he said “I will not believe” (cf. Jn 20:25). Eight days later – which is precisely today – Jesus returned to stand among them and turned immediately to Thomas, inviting him to touch the wounds in his hands and his side. He faced his incredulity so that, through the signs of the passion, he was able to reach the fullness of faith in the Paschal Mystery, namely faith in the Resurrection of Jesus.

Thomas was one who was not satisfied and seeks, intending to confirm himself, to have his own personal experience. After initial resistance and apprehension, in the end even he was able to believe, , even though through effort, he came to believe. Jesus waited for him patiently and offered himself to the difficulties and uncertainty of the last to arrive. The Lord proclaimed “blessed”, those who believe without seeing (cf. v. 29) the first which is Mary his mother. He also meet the needs of the doubting disciple: “Put your finger here, and see my hands…” (v. 27). In the redeeming contact with the wounds of the Risen One, Thomas showed his own wounds, his own injuries, his own lacerations, his own humiliation: in the print of the nails he found the decisive proof that he was loved, that he was expected, that he was understood. He found himself before the Messiah filled with kindness, mercy, tenderness. This was the Lord he was searching for, he, in the hidden depths of his being, for he had always known the Lord was like this. And how many of us are searching deep in our heart to meet Jesus, just as he is: kind, merciful, tender! For we know, deep down, that he is like this. Having rediscovered personal contact with Christ who is amiable and mercifully patient, Thomas understood the profound significance of his Resurrection and, intimately transformed, he declared his full and total faith in him exclaiming: “My Lord and my God!” (v. 28). Beautiful, Thomas’ expression is beautiful!

He was able to “touch” the Paschal Mystery which fully demonstrated God’s redeeming love (cf. Ep 2:4). All of us too are like Thomas: on this second Sunday of Easter we are called to contemplate, in the wounds of the Risen One, Divine Mercy, which comes all human limitations and shines on the darkness of the evil and of sin.

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