April 28, 2019
Reading 1: Acts 5:12-16
Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-2
Reading 2: Revelation 1: 9-11A, 12-13, 17-19
Gospel: John 20:19-31
Happy Easter! We have come through the darkness of lent and a long winter and are just rounding the corner into Spring and Easter Hope.
But a side of me has to ask…Do we really believe it?!
When the political landscape and continued humanitarian and environmental crises around the world speak of division and destruction, it’s hard to recognize the Risen Christ in our midst. Sometimes I resonate with Thomas’ doubting heart. Sometimes I have trouble believing Easter has truly arrived.
But if we take Thomas’ lead, we might learn to embody belief through our actions. In his unbelief, he asked to put his hands into the wounds of Christ. He understood intuitively that moving closer to the suffering of Christ would move his faith. When we allow ourselves to attend to the wounds of those around us we might make sense or gain perspective in life. Psychological studies offer that reaching out to help others, in turn, helps us to find meaning in our lives.[i]
Our faith invites us even further beyond helping one another to true solidarity. When we get close enough to the heart of another to comprehend our shared brokenness, we begin to recognize Christ in those we “other.” This willingness to enter into the wounds of another in solidarity is what Pope Francis talks about when he shares the metaphor of the Church as a Field Hospital. In his 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro, S.J. he noted: “The thing the Church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity.”[ii] He is essentially saying we need to be close to the struggles of others in order to heal wounds and warm hearts; to bring the Good News. He went on to say that we need to be a people “who know how to dialogue and to descend into their people’s night, into the darkness, but without getting lost.” Our faith invites us to believe that when we enter into the woundedness of others, we will recognize the Risen Christ. We can share Christ’s promise of peace and mercy only when we know and love the other as Christ. We understand the resurrection when we go through the cross of suffering. We won’t get lost in our unbelief; we’ll be able to proclaim and “write down” all that we have seen.
We are being invited by today’s readings to go out into the streets and take up the mission of Christ. As Francis J. Maloney, S.D.B. notes, “the community must reach beyond its borders to continue the mission of Jesus.”[iii] Christ’s mission is ours; we are asked to continue his work of bringing healing and hope. As the first reading shares, “A large number of people from the towns were gathering… and they were all cured.” By our Baptism we too share in the peace Christ greeted his disciples within that upper room, we too receive the Spirit’s continued companionship as we move into the world sharing Christ’s message of divine mercy. This is a prophetic role, one that demands we authentically walk in solidarity and love with those most vulnerable including our fragile earth.
On this Second Sunday of Easter, are we waiting in the upper room wondering what to do next? Doubting Easter’s promises? Or even afraid of the task before us? I invite you to lay your fears aside, and like the disciples in the first reading, walk out into the streets, bold and faithful, knowing what needs to be done to share Christ’s love.
Ram Daas in, How Can I Help, says, “Fear is the mind’s reaction to the inherent generosity of the heart.”[iv] That resonates with Jesus’ invitation to Thomas and in turn each of us: Don’t be led by fear and doubt into “unbelieving” this Easter season; let your heart guide you into believing. Let love embody your relationships with God, yourself and others in order to breath life and hope into a world longing for resurrection.
Christina R. Zaker, DMin
Director of Field Education
Director of English for Theological Education
[I] Can Helping Others Help You Find Meaning in Life? by Elizabeth Hopper at Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, accessed March 7, 2019.
[II] A Big Heart Open to God: An Interview with Pope Francis by Antonio Spadaro, S.J. in America, The Jesuit Review, accessed March 7, 2019,
[III] Francis J. Maloney, S.D.B., The Gospel of John, Sacra Pagina (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1998), 532.
[IV] Ram Dass and Paul Gorman, How can I Help? Stories and Reflections on Service, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf Inc., 1985), 58.