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“More Than a Feeling”, By Ramil Caragay, Fiat Ventures

Flickr User halwis

Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday)

Easter is a time of rejoicing and peace! It’s not only a big celebration in the Church, but it even spills over into the aisles of supermarkets and pharmacies that are brimming with chocolate bunnies even before Lent begins. It’s easy to look at Easter as a “feel good” holiday. Similarly to Christmas, many people even go to Mass on Easter Sunday when they wouldn’t on a normal week, because it makes them feel good.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to welcome those folks back on Easter and I pray that they have a real encounter with Jesus in the midst of the Catholic community. But Easter is much more than that. Easter is more than a “feel good” holiday. Easter is all about the most central question of our life of faith. If the Resurrection of Jesus didn’t happen, then it’s all for naught.  You might as well close this blog and go back to BuzzFeed. But if it really did happen, that means that Jesus is who he said he was, that he offers us eternal life and forgiveness of our sins, and the path to having the most abundant life possible not just in heaven but even now. 

So that central question is this; do I believe that? Do you? If you’re not sure of your answer to that question, you’re not alone.  This week’s Gospel tells of the Apostle Thomas, who was in a similar place (at least for a few days). 

Try and take yourself a couple thousand years back into the past to the time of Jesus. Just imagine seeing someone you called teacher and master get beaten, humiliated, and punished. You weren’t even there to see him die on the Cross because you bailed on him just like most of your group.  A few days later, everyone is saying that his tomb is empty and that he has risen from the dead, and that they saw him! Would you have believed it without proof? It’s worth pointing out that Thomas gets a bit of a bad rap, but the rest of the Apostles doubted too, they just got to see the “proof” before Thomas did. 

After the Apostles (and Thomas) had seen and believed, do you think that became just a “feel good” memory for them? Of course not! Rather, that was a gamechanger for them. They had a completely renewed sense of hope. A few weeks later when they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, that hope transformed into a rock solid faith that they would cling to even unto death.

We might be at a slight disadvantage since we weren’t in that locked upper room when Jesus showed his scars, but we have 2,000 years of saints who have gone before us with the same rock solid faith that the Apostles had. We can look to their witness to help bridge the gap between what we’ve seen with our own eyes and what we believe (and as Jesus says, blessed are those who have not seen and have believed).

And what about our own lives, is it even the case that we have not seen? I’d challenge us (myself included) to think about all the ways we’ve seen God work and move in our lives. I’m sure each of us has seen more than we realize. So is it natural to doubt as Thomas did? Sure, but always wrestle with those questions in the context of what you’ve seen for yourself and the witness of those who have gone before us. And that should give us much more than a “feeling”. He is Risen!

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