BY FR. BRIAN ZUMBRUM, OSFS
2nd Sunday of Easter | April 28, 2019
So this afternoon we wrapped up our final Encounter retreat of the year.
And I must be honest, it was one of the more emotionally exhausting experiences I’ve had.
I know I should have seen it coming.
For this senior class has borne more than its share of grief over these last four years and as we approach graduation, each of these young men is acutely aware of who won’t be standing beside them.
But watching pain take its unforgiving toll on a 17 year-old is still hard to watch.
So one afternoon, as I was talking with one of the seniors, he looked at me and said, “How, how do I see God? I want to believe Fr. Brian, I do. But with everything that has happened, I just can’t see him.”
And in his response, I couldn’t help but think of Thomas from today’s Gospel.
Because Thomas too desperately wanted to believe.
But with everything that had happened, it just seemed impossible.
Jesus had died. And dead people don’t just return. Everybody knows that.
But it goes deeper than than that. Thomas was still grieving. And grief makes it so hard to see beyond our loss, beyond our wounds.
So how does Jesus do it?
How does he lead Thomas back to being able to see him once again?
Through the power of love.
Love that showed in the wounds he bore for his sake.
And it is that same love that continues to lead each of us to belief 2000 years later.
For though we may not see the Risen Christ in the flesh like Thomas, we do encounter the Risen Christ everyday.
In the mother who cradles her infant in her arms, as her body still aches from the trauma of giving birth.
In the spouse who gently sponges his wife in the bathtub, though she has failed to know who he is for years.
In the friend who shows up at the funeral, embraces us in a hug, and lets us cry.
In the classmate who stares down the bully in the lunch room and tells him to back off, knowing the next round of barbs will be directed his way,
In the teacher who hears the news that she has lost one of her students and then goes and stands before that class to be there guide and comfort through the storm.
And in ourselves.
Everytime we allow ourselves to become vessels of the Spirit, sharing our own love with the world.
Just like Thomas, we too will often see Christ’s love in the wounds that others bear for our sake. The wounds we suffer out of love…if we know what to look for.
How do I see God, Father Brian?
You see God every time you experience love, my brother.
He paused and looked at me and said, “I remember those days after his death. And I remember how we cared for one another. I remember how we would listen to each other. Hold each other. Weep into each other’s arms.
Maybe you’re right. Maybe I wasn’t alone. Maybe God was there all along. I just needed to be reminded of who I was looking for.”
Truer words could not be spoken as we continue on our Easter journey.
May God be Praised.