The Reality of Resurrection
"Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
April 9, 2021, Words By: Fred Laceda, Image By: unknown
The Miracle of Easter is upon us. And like the disciples locked in the upper room in this week’s text, my community is filled with trepidation.
At the start of Holy Week Manila and nearby provinces entered into another lockdown, causing difficulty for many, especially the most vulnerable. This pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities. Many people in the under-resourced areas of Manila are living on daily wages, and when these meager means to support their families are cut off, you can feel the fear in the air.
How can we celebrate Easter when we are in such a dire situation? How can we celebrate the Easter feast without the means to provide food?
These are the thoughts that occupy me as we enter the final act of Lent.
Answering these questions is not simple. In fact, they shake the very foundation of my faith. Unfortunately, quick and easy answers do more harm than good. “He is risen” begins to sound like a charade that applies only to those with the means to purchase its benefits.
In our lectionary passage this week, John 20:19-31, we see the fullness of the Easter miracle. I’m not just referring to the Resurrection, but also what it sets in motion — God’s work of renewing all of creation.
This year, more than most, I realized how much I long for this ongoing miracle.
Jesus’ Resurrection wasn’t the end of the story; it was the beginning of a new chapter. He left behind his dark tomb to enter into a dark, shuttered room full of his fearful disciples. But instead of chastising, shaming or blaming them, he declared peace. And then he “showed them his hands and his sides,” and they rejoiced (v. 20). A week later, Thomas demanded to see the marks on Jesus’ body as well (v. 25), and it had a similar effect on him.
The marks on Jesus’ body weren’t just proof of his identity as God’s resurrected Son. They bore witness to his pain, agony and suffering — his identity as the resurrected Christ who shares our lot and our loss. The Resurrection does not cut Jesus off from my reality; it allows Jesus to enter more deeply into it, and I into his.
And it’s precisely from this place — the place of shattered faith and lost hope that love does its work. It is from this place that New Creation unfolds.
It is this space that we are called to enter into and cultivate as followers of Jesus. He sent his disciples to continue the miracle of Easter, not by avoiding the world’s wounds and hard places, but instead by stepping into them — to break bread with those who are suffering, dejected, hungry, and weary. For it’s in these places that we both encounter Christ and reflect him.
Dwelling Among Us
Write down a fear or shame you have on a piece of paper and crumple it up. Now close your eyes and imagine yourself in the dark room that this fear or shame has locked you into. Can you imagine Jesus entering into this space, sharing your wounds? Can you see him speaking peace instead of condemnation?