We have seen the Lord!” Who has not longed to hear those words? Or who has not longed for the experience that gave birth to the words? Most of us are like Thomas in today’s Gospel—not that we are doubters, but that our faith is based on the words of others. Someone else has the experience, and we hear about it.
But that is not exactly true. God does not favor a chosen few with an experience of the risen Christ and then require the rest of us simply to take it on their word. Not at all! The resurrection means that Jesus is alive for each of us. At the end of his book Life of Jesus, François Mauriac reminds us that since the resurrection, we are apt to encounter the Lord when and where we least expect. Today’s readings provide us with a few examples of this.
The description of the early Christian community found in Acts reminds us that Christ is indeed among us, living in the community, in the members of his body. He is alive in those who are one in heart and mind, who share what they have with each other. These early Easter-people were so transformed by their resurrection experience that nonbelievers looked in wonder at them and exclaimed, “These Christians, see how they love one another.”
We are no different. We too find Christ in our community. His vulnerability can be found in children and in the elderly, his courage in those who stand bravely for principle or who accept suffering with dignity. His kindness shines forth in the smiles of others, his healing power in their gentle touch.
We also meet him in the weaker members of his body. Jesus invited Thomas to touch his wounds. He extends that same invitation to us. It is his fear that we see in the eyes of the mentally ill; it is his terror that grips the refugee; his need reaches out to us in those who are hungry or imprisoned. As Mauriac reminds us, this risen Christ might be just around the corner. Have we experienced him? Can our contemporaries say of us, “These Christians, see how they love one another”?