JN 10: 19-31

An elderly nun used to work with the prisoners on death row in Singapore. There amidst all the angst, pain, suffering and doubt of society’s most outcast members, she witnessed the power of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. When they encounter the Lord, read his Word and receive the sacrament of forgiveness, the prisoners begin to change, their hearts start to hope again, even if this meant hoping for the gift of eternal life once their sentence is carried out. She has accompanied many to their final moments, filled with peace, forgiveness and surrender.

The apostles were enveloped in darkness the day the Lord was crucified. The darkness that covered the earth that fateful afternoon seemed to cast a deep shadow in their lives… and even in their faith. Remember how the disciples going to Emmaus expressed their disappointment? Wondering where the rest of the eleven apostles (except John) were during Jesus’ last hours? And now, surprised at the difficulty of Thomas to believe he has risen?

When something dramatic, drastic, and traumatic enters into our experience, we all naturally enter into a state of shock, then of questioning, then of anger and rebellion, and then of alienation from the rock of our faith. Doubt exemplifies the darkness that has slowly crept into our minds and hearts. We no longer know what to believe. We no longer know who to believe.

Darkness is not alien to the experience of the Risen Lord. He anguished over betrayal and death at the Garden of Gethsemane. He felt abandonment on the Cross. He descended into death itself for three days in the tomb. And that is why he, of all people, know what we go through. By the power of his Resurrection, the Lord Jesus meets us with his offer of light, his gift of hope, and his healing and restoring touch.

Faith tells us that the Risen Lord went about visiting people, appearing to them, so that they will recover their weak, if not lost, faith. To Thomas, he not only appeared, but also gave the chance to touch him, to experience for himself the truth of the Resurrection. The exclamation of Thomas is our quiet response in every Mass, as we see the Body and Blood of Christ raised before our eyes at the time of Consecration: My Lord and my God! Perhaps, this can also be the most powerful prayer we can say when we are at the brink of doubt, at the threshold of giving up, or in the throes of darkness and pain: My Lord and my God!

The mercy of the Lord shines on us today as receive hope again, to live, to believe, to love, and to serve! Lord, have mercy! Happy Easter! (ourparishpriest 2023; photo: fr tam nguyen)