EASTER 2021 Celebrating God’s PROMISE & the GIFT of NEW LIFE…ALLELUIA!

“Blessed are those (You! Me! Us!) who have not seen, but have believed.”

In the Gospel today we retell the familiar story of Thomas’ doubts and struggle to believe his hopes could, in fact, did happen, did come to life.

In some senses, Thomas was ‘stuck’ on Holy Saturday, the dying had happened, but for him anyway, Resurrection was hardly even a hope, much less a promise. For him it had not yet happened…

Likewise, here in 2021 as we hope for some sort of after-pandemic living, we are in that same set of “Saturday circumstances” as our brother Thomas.

We’ve experienced many dyings, most at a distance but some too close. And now we’re not sure of how (or even if) our future will unfold.

Can we believe that God is working LIFE for us and all creation here in April 2021? Can we hope for not only an after-covid life, but a better life? Can we begin to imagine, to pray what it might look like?

Thomas struggles but belief is given him. You?

Can we believe that Easter invites us all to look more deeply at our lives, our future, our faith? Maybe there’s more happening that we see or even imagine?

Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB, suggests for our pondering that, “From where I stand, the lockdowns of COVID-19 didn't deprive us of anything in the realm of faith. Instead, they are simply requiring us to dig deeper for spirituality ourselves--which is what we have always been meant to do but have allowed the institution to do for us.”

Joe Frankenfield reminds us of what believing that Jesus is alive, risen, raised up means—and why perhaps we still struggle as Thomas did:

“Believing in Jesus was believing that the world not only could be but would be different than it is.

“Believing in Jesus meant believing that our efforts to live loving and just lives would change things and lead to others living lovingly and justly.

“Believing in Jesus meant believing that God’s Spirit is steering the ship and that our acting with her forgiveness, respect, love and justice is unfailingly practical--never a waste of time.

“Believing in Jesus meant that living his way was worth all the risk it entailed. And that’s what believing in Jesus’ resurrection meant.”

‘Repent’ was the invitation he extended. Realize, he announced, that the kin*dom of God was at hand. A new creation is not only imaginable, but occurring, occurring and offering you new hope, new possibility, New Life. Blessed are you who believe.

The first reading tells of a community transformed by what the Risen One shared. A community seeking to build its future according to God’s plan, believing that the world not only could be, but would be healed…

Fr. Richard Rohr shared recently thoughts from Valarie Kaur, a Sikh activist and civil rights lawyer, about the “revolutionary love” of “seeing no stranger.” Such LOVE, such living can perhaps heal and transform? Is it what believing means?

“See no stranger has become a practice that defines my relationships…Seeing no stranger begins in wonder.

“It is to look upon the face of anyone and choose to say: You are a part of me I do not yet know.

Wonder is the wellspring for love. Who we wonder about determines whose stories we hear and whose joy and pain we share. Those we grieve with, those we sit with and weep with, are ultimately those we organize with and advocate for.

“When a critical mass of people come together to wonder about one another, grieve with one another, and fight with and for one another, we begin to build the solidarity needed for collective liberation and transformation—a solidarity rooted in love. . . .

“Out in the world, I look at faces on the street or in the news. To practice seeing each of them as a sister or brother or family member, I say in my mind: You are a part of me I do not yet know.

“Through conscious repetition, I am practicing orienting to the world with wonder and preparing myself for the possibility of connection. (Sometimes I do this with animals and the earth, too!) It opens me up to pay attention to their story. When their story is painful, I make excuses to turn back—“It’s too overwhelming” or “It’s not my place”—but, I begin to ask: “What do they need? Listening…and my offering voice or time or money or labor to assist them.

“When I worry that I’m not enough, I ask myself: What is my sword and shield? How will I fight? What will I risk?

“When I get overwhelmed, I ask: What is my role in this moment? I remember that I only have to shine my light in my corner of sky.”

So, as we hope for healing from COVID, as we seek a better future for those we love as well as for all those God loves, we join Thomas, struggling to find the faith (and the community) that sustains and grows our HOPE! For He is ALIVE! New Life has/is come!

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." (Colossians 3:16)