Easter is the celebration of resurrection, but Easter does not forget or deny the crucifixion. The wounds remain, not as wounds, but as signs of victory. Last Sunday, as faithful Christians gathered in Sri Lanka to celebrate the joy of the Resurrected Christ, others, who wished for the trauma of Calvary to be God’s ultimate message for the world, struck with calculating evil. But Calvary never has the final word, and certainly not on Easter Sunday. Nor on this Second Sunday of Easter, as we gather in solidarity with the Sri Lankan community, expressing our sorrow, sharing their sadness and finding the hope that only faith born of new life can bring.
Like Thomas, we touch the wounds of the Risen Christ, not to dampen our faith but in order to believe and to help one another to believe. The horrors and suffering of this world can lead us into places of deep and dark doubt, but standing together offers our fragile faith the much-needed strength to persevere.
As every honest believer knows, faith and doubt go hand in hand. Doubt is not an enemy of faith; doubt can often be the doorway that leads to a deeper faith. It is unfortunate that Thomas is often given the description “doubting”, because he is actually a firm believer, not just by the end of this story but throughout the whole of gospels – it is simply that his faith, like ours, needs to be fine-tuned by the events of life. Faith isn’t just about knowledge or information. Faith is about relationship. Our faith is challenged and re-arranged by all the events of our life, good and bad. Events like last Sunday stretch the limits of our faith. We will never have answers as to why evil can trespass into the ordinary rhythm of life and attempt to destroy our common peace and harmony, but we can trust in God’s ultimate goodness and victory. We can look beyond Calvary and into the empty tomb. We can touch the wounds of the Risen Christ and like Thomas come to exclaim, “My Lord and my God!”
Fr Anthony Mellor