A NEW BEGINNING
Terrified by Jesus’ execution, the disciples seek refuge in a house they know. Once again they are together, but now Jesus is no longer with them. In the community there’s an empty place that no one can fill. They lack Jesus. They can’t hear his words full of fire. They can’t see him blessing the unfortunate with tenderness. Who will they follow now?
It’s getting dark in Jerusalem and also in their hearts. No one can console them in their sadness. The only thing that gives them a kind of security is «lock the doors». Now no one thinks about going out along the roads to announce God’s reign and bring healing to life. Without Jesus, how are they going to spread his Good News?
The Gospel writer John describes in an unparalleled way the transformation that comes about in the disciples when Jesus, full of life, appears in their midst. The Risen One is again in the center of their community. That’s how it must be always. With him everything is possible: freeing us from fear, opening doors, and putting the evangelization into action.
According to the story, the first thing Jesus instills in his community is his peace. No criticism for having abandoned him, no complaint or reproach. Only peace and joy. The disciples feel his creative strength. Everything begins again. Driven by his Spirit, they will keep working throughout the centuries on the same saving project that the Father has entrusted to Jesus.
What the Church needs today isn’t just religious reforms and calls to communion. We need to experience in our communities a «new beginning» that starts with the living presence of Jesus in our midst. He alone must occupy the center of the Church. He alone can promote communion. He alone can renew our hearts.
Our efforts and works aren’t enough. It’s Jesus who can unlock the change of horizon, the freeing from fear and suspicions, the new climate of peace and serenity that we so need in order to open doors and be capable of sharing the Gospel with the men and women of our time.
But we need to learn to welcome with faith his presence in our midst. When Jesus returns to present himself a week later, the narrator tells us that the doors are still locked. It’s not just Thomas who must learn to believe confidently in the Risen One. The other disciples also need to go about overcoming little by little the doubts and fears that still make them live with doors closed to the evangelization.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf