Saturday, March 29, 2008

sight unseen

I have four Masses tomorrow. One in English. So that’s two homilies to prepare. It’s got little to do with the words, really. The same Gospel on the same Sunday is simply not preached the same way to the different communities.

I imagine that it would seem obvious, but I also know how long it took me to figure it out.

I’m an exorcist, not a Rhodes Scholar.

The liturgy of Easter season opens a photo album of the early Christian community. The snapshots reveal restlessness, eagerness, anticipation. Who among them suspected that the time of creation’s travail would go on for at least another two millennia? Acts, Peter and Paul all exude and aire of expectancy, of imminence. The dumbfounding truth about our destiny and the transformation of all reality that exploded from the tomb on the third day made waiting for His return nearly an insufferable task...

Peter was there when Christ said it to Thomas. Peter repeats it in his letter to the early community: “...your faith (is) more precious than gold... although you have not seen him, you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him.”

To think that it was always His intention that the incalculable majority of believers would become so having not seen... that the unending chorus of martyrs would surrender their lives for a love unconfirmed by their senses... is finally to understand the importance of testimony. Our faith is born from the testimony of those who go before us for we, too, believe without having seen.

Thomas doubted, but he knew what sign to ask for.

The nail marks, the wounds, the scars. “When you have lifted up the Son of man then you will know that I am He.”

Would that in our hour of doubt we ask for so unequivocal a sign...