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Meditation of Archbishop Pizzaballa for the Second Sunday of Easter Season, Year C

Published: April 25 Thu, 2019

April 28, 2019

Second Sunday of Easter Season, Year C

Eight days ago, on Easter Sunday, we saw the place where the every Christian’s faith journey starts. It begins at the empty tomb, where we return to see the place where Jesus was buried, but also where the women and the disciples discover that His body is no more. Jesus is no longer in death.

But this is only the starting point, which needs a journey.

Indeed, the accounts of the meetings between the Risen One and His disciples are often descriptions of the journey: the disciples go to the tomb, Jesus goes to them in the Cenacle, the disciples are going to Emmaus, then they hurry back to Jerusalem.

It’s a physical journey, but also a spiritual path; it’s the path of faith.

So, if with the Easter morning Gospel we have seen where this journey begins, in today’s Gospel we see where it leads, where it must arrive. That is, we must come to recognize the Risen Lord, to see Him with our eyes, to believe in Him, to rediscover Him as our personal Lord, our God.

We underline some aspects of this path.

The first is that after the Easter morning, the first day after the Sabbath, everyone is looking for Jesus, but no one finds Him, because He is the one who finds His own. He finds them when and how He wants. In today’s Gospel, we see precisely this: Jesus first finds His own, gathered in the Cenacle, on the evening of that day. And then He returns, eight days later, to meet Thomas, who was absent at the first meeting. The path of faith passes through this bottleneck, that of letting ourselves be found, of recognizing that we are not the ones who find the Lord, but it is He who finds us.

Where does He find us? Exactly where we are, in our fears and doubts, where we are locked up: the disciples were locked up in the Upper Room for fear of the Jews (Jn 20:19); Thomas was locked up in the inability to think the Lord alive, to give the Lord the possibility of coming to Him.

Instead, as we’ve said, the Lord comes.

He comes to do three things.

The first is to give the Spirit (Jn 20:22), to give that life that He found again after death, that life to which the Father called Him as the crowning and fulfillment of His gift of love. As soon as He receives it, Jesus does not keep it for Himself but gives it to His friends.

The second thing is to send them. As soon as Jesus finds the disciples after the bewilderment of the days of the Passion, He does not clutch them to Himself, He does not bind them to Himself, but at once, He immediately sends them, just as the Father sent Him: the life which they found, they must share with every man, because Easter is for everyone. There is just one way wherein this will happen: the forgiveness of sins (Jn 20:23). Forgiveness is the ultimate sign of the Risen Lord’s victory over death.

Finally, He comes to meet and heal Thomas. The need of the wounded man, of the sinful man, is always to reach out, to touch and to take, like Adam. It’s the need to possess. And Jesus arrives right there, He offers Himself to this sick need of ours, but by offering Himself as He offered Himself on the cross. He heals us, giving us the possibility of another way of living, that of trusting and believing.

And if touching and possessing is something that encloses us in ourselves, that makes us fall back on ourselves and our needs, even religious, believing is a going out of ourselves, it is the principle of that mission to which the Risen One has come to send us.

Whoever is a prisoner of his/her own need, waiting to see and to touch, never starts. Those who believe that the Lord is always with them, that He always gives life cannot, on the contrary, remain still. They cannot but go out, so that others can also get the same gift of gratuitousness and life.

+ Pierbattista