Palpable, Touchable, Visible, True

by | Apr 19, 2022 | Formation, Reflections

Jesus makes palpable God, whom no one has seen or touched.  True disciples do not rest till their Teacher is palpable to them.

Jesus knows that when he shows up risen, his disciples will think they see a ghost.  They will want him to be palpable.  That is why he has no sooner wished them peace than he shows them his hands and his side.  These are sure signs, if not proofs, of the dead on the cross and buried.  But he tells them now, “I am alive.”

And we disciples today take for granted that Christ is risen.  We do not question it.  Nor do we doubt our sources.  Faith is enough for us; we do not need him to be palpable.  And, yes, it feels good to think we are blessed; we believe though we do not see.

But do we truly believe?  Are we not with Eleanor Rigby and Father McKenzie, that is, with the lonely more than with the joyful?  Are we of those with mediocre faith, or of the poor with lively faith?  Those with “lively faith” find palpable and delightful the words of life (SV.EN XII:142).

We mediocre folks, for our part, honor Christ by repeating formulas and doing rituals.  But our hearts are far from him; bonding with him does not even cross our minds.  So, we should avail of this teachable moment of apostle Thomas’ doubt.

Know the Risen One in a palpable way.

No, it is not the disciple that does not believe who is the model.  It is the disciple who sees and believes.  But he only sees signs:  the empty tomb, the burial cloths, the cloth to cover the dead’s head, all in good order.  He does not see the risen Christ.  That is why the nameless disciple is the first of the blessed who believe though they not see.

But we can learn from Thomas not to let our faith get stale.  He tells us that each has to make his or her own journey of faith.  It is not enough that we say great truths, if these do not touch our hearts or those of others.

Thomas also reminds us that we are slow to understand Scriptures.  Hence, we will go back to them always.  And we will walk side by side until our hearts burn and we find the risen “God-with-us” palpable.

We will also accept his gifts of peace, forgiveness and the Holy Spirit.  The courage that comes from the Spirit will take away our fear and prod us to go forth to help those in need.  No more staying behind closed doors; Christ should be palpable in the world through us.

And thanks, too, for Thomas.  Through him we get to look at the Risen One who does not send away the one who doubts.  But he takes his time to grant what the doubter asks for; he waits till he hears, “My Lord and my God!”

Hence, we disciples will strive to be one with those in doubt.  To stick less to the letter and more to the spirit of the teachings.  To not catch lukewarmness that leads to sloth, “the vice of the clergy,” (clericalism?), and to murmuring (SV.EN VIII:126; SV.EN X:154).

Lord Jesus, your inventive love gives us the Holy Meal (SV.EN XI:131).  You thus are palpable and delightful as you feed us, remind us of your passion, fill us with grace, and give us a pledge of the glory to come.  May we be signs that point to you.

24 April 2022
Second Sunday of Easter (C)
Acts 5, 12-16; Rev 1, 9-11a. 12-13. 17-19; Jn 20, 19-31