Granting us peace and entrusting us a mission, the risen Jesus makes the night shine as the day. He thus arouses faith.
As the night falls, the disciples look for safety in a house with locked doors. That is because they are afraid of fellow Jews who sought the death penalty for Jesus.
Although they already believe or understand Scripture after seeing the empty tomb, Peter and the other disciple still fear, yes. The rest do not take courage even after hearing Mary Magdalen state, “I have seen the Lord.”
Do they think they know better than to believe a woman? Or do the fishermen know themselves very well? Perhaps they dismiss Mary because they see in her account their own notorious tales about huge catches of fish. Self-distrust can easily lead us to distrust others.
In any case, the disciples want the darkness of night to hide them. They also take cover in a house with locked doors. But neither the night nor the doors stop Jesus.
And Jesus, of course, does not like the dark night to surround us. Coming out of the tomb, he bids us to come out of the tomb of indifferent self-interests. He wants to see us without burdensome remorse and crippling fear tying us down. The Risen One, yes, comes before us to raise us up.
Standing in our midst, Jesus sends the message that we have to put him in the center. That is how we show we are disciples. We should fix our gaze on him so that we may rejoice. Obviously, he reveals himself as the giver of peace, of the mission, of the life-breath from God.
And the mission of forgiveness and reconciliation implies leaving behind the false security of the night and the lock. The mission demands besides that we exchange “see” for “believe.”
That is because only God can give us the definitive security through Jesus. Unless God guard the city, in vain does the guard keep watch. Without Jesus, we can do nothing, nor will we find true security. With him strengthening us, however, we can do everything.
To leave night behind also means faith in Jesus. He came into the world as light, so that those who believe in him may not stay in the dark. Those who believe in him without seeing are happy.
Blessed, indeed, by the Father are those who recognize clearly the Son’s disfigured face in the poor (cf. SV.EN XI:26). Giving up themselves and their assets for the poor, they recall the one who gave his body up and shed his blood for us. Because they love as Jesus, they are no longer of the night; with him, they pass from death to life. And they attain the goal of their faith.
Lord, we are all children of the day. Do not let us be of the night again.
23 April 2017
2nd Sunday of Easter (A)
Acts 2, 42-47; 1 Pt 1, 3-9; Jn 20, 19-31