We are still in the midst of the octave of Easter, and yet today’s Gospel and the Reading from Acts both speak of doubt. In Acts, the crippled man is cured and the people are amazed and they begin to praise Peter and John. But Peter has to remind them that this man is not cured by them but by faith in Christ. We wonder did they not hear the message?
And in the Gospel we hear of his very own disciples being overwhelmed by His appearance, even though they were just talking to each other about recognizing him in the breaking of the Bread. Jesus seems to be trying to convince them that he is real and that all that he has told them would happen has happened. But nonetheless, they are incredulous and he still needs to open their minds to understand the scriptures. It is not through their own intellect or logic that they understand but only when Jesus opens their minds. In fact, even though Jesus’ walks and talks, even eats with the Apostles after his Resurrection, their faith will remain weak until Pentecost when the Holy Spirit will fill them with the gifts they need to fully live their faith.
Easter week more than two thousand years later and our spirits are again filled with the commemoration of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ. We believe that Jesus died for our sins and that raised from the dead, he promises us eternal life. We celebrated the Last Supper, we walked the Stations, we listened to the Passion, we reverenced the Cross, and we sang the Gloria because Jesus who was dead has been raised.
But how strong is our Faith? Do we live as though we really believe in all that happened this last week? How would our lives be different if our Faith were stronger?
Let us pray to grow in the gift of Faith during this Easter Season so that the Holy Spirit will fill our hearts and our lives and all that we do will be permeated with a deep Faith in the Risen Christ.
Mary Lou Butler is a long-time friend and partner in ministry to the Passionists in California.