Happy Easter to all of you. Christ is Risen.
Today, I have enjoyed Resurrection Sunday with its time of rest before church, the wonderful service, singing and communion at the Mennonite church where we attend; the fabulous dinner we shared with our housemates, our good friend Cate, and Emily’s folks (who are in town this week) was a great way to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection together; and finally I really loved the short homily offered by Pope Benedict on this Holy Day.
I wanted to point out his message because I really loved what he shared from the Gospel accounts concerning Christ’s suffering and resurrection and how this event, which we celebrate as a worldwide people of faith, has not removed violence, evil and suffering from this world, “but has vanquished them at their roots by the superabundance of his grace.”
The Pope woes the vast suffering and violence in the world today, as he reflects upon Christ’s own suffering and work on the cross. His message is well worth reading and reflecting upon.
Here is part of the message:
“My Lord and my God!” We too renew that profession of faith of Thomas. I have chosen these words for my Easter greetings this year, because humanity today expects from Christians a renewed witness to the resurrection of Christ; it needs to encounter him and to know him as true God and true man. If we can recognize in this Apostle the doubts and uncertainties of so many Christians today, the fears and disappointments of many of our contemporaries, with him we can also rediscover with renewed conviction, faith in Christ dead and risen for us. This faith, handed down through the centuries by the successors of the Apostles, continues on because the Risen Lord dies no more. He lives in the Church and guides it firmly towards the fulfilment of his eternal design of salvation.
We may all be tempted by the disbelief of Thomas. Suffering, evil, injustice, death, especially when it strikes the innocent such as children who are victims of war and terrorism, of sickness and hunger, does not all of this put our faith to the test? Paradoxically the disbelief of Thomas is most valuable to us in these cases because it helps to purify all false concepts of God and leads us to discover his true face: the face of a God who, in Christ, has taken upon himself the wounds of injured humanity. Thomas has received from the Lord, and has in turn transmitted to the Church, the gift of a faith put to the test by the passion and death of Jesus and confirmed by meeting him risen. His faith was almost dead but was born again thanks to his touching the wounds of Christ, those wounds that the Risen One did not hide but showed, and continues to point out to us in the trials and sufferings of every human being.
“By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Pt 2:24). This is the message Peter addressed to the early converts. Those wounds that, in the beginning were an obstacle for Thomass faith, being a sign of Jesus apparent failure, those same wounds have become in his encounter with the Risen One, signs of a victorious love. These wounds that Christ has received for love of us help us to understand who God is and to repeat: “My Lord and my God!” Only a God who loves us to the extent of taking upon himself our wounds and our pain, especially innocent suffering, is worthy of faith.