The presence of peace in our lives and the reality of our communion with each other as brothers and sisters are two actualities that take on far reaching significance when one is meditating on the resurrection of Jesus.
Here today in our Easter Season as we contemplate the mystery of the resurrection, it seems to me that they are both strong indicators and signs of the presence of the risen Christ.
Firstly let us look at the word ‘peace’. It is a constant proclamation of Jesus in the resurrection accounts and in the language of Jesus this word denotes wholeness or completeness.
One reflection we might make is to see those moments of deep peace in our own lives and indicators of a deeper presence within and with us – that of Jesus himself who is the bearer of such peace. When we find ourselves ‘at peace’ – a peace that is wider and deeper than mere absence of wars or interpersonal strife – this can be a moment, a lens through which we might glimpse the presence of Jesus in the Spirit. Peace seems to be the hallmark of the life that God wants for us and which Jesus came to reveal. A life marked by a calmness of being and by an absence of fear, a life filled with moral value and divine presence. Peace and even every peaceful moment in our lives thus becomes a grace, a gift of God to us, and one highly indicative of the nearness and presence of Jesus with us.
Secondly let us consider the importance of ‘relationship to and with the community’ of believers. Thomas serves as our ‘guide’, perhaps not intentionally so, but nevertheless his story is powerfully indicative for us and our faith response. Thomas stands before us as a disciple who attempted to reason his way through to faith and what is more, he tries to do it by himself. He is absent from the community when they experience the presence of Jesus and he does not believe their witness till he himself stands amongst them. In the company of his brothers and sisters he no longer needs the ’proof’ he has so clearly demanded when relying on only his intellect. Once in the community he experiences with them the presence of Jesus and his questions about proof fade away – he never seeks to touch or see as he had previously demanded. His experience teaches us that we nourish each other by our common faith and that the witness of each of us is important. Together as a community we can inspire and protect the faith we all bear especially those times of doubt and uncertainly.
In such ways we each become a new source, a new ‘sign’ of Jesus’ presence. Our witness may not be recorded in the gospel account, but it surely proclaims the good news.
So let us treasure the gift of peace when it reigns in our hearts – it reflects the nearness of Jesus to us and can inspire and strengthen us to have great courage and forgive much. Let us also treasure the community that surrounds us, it is a source of strength for our faith and a medium through which we encounter Jesus.
Fr. Denis Travers, C.P., is a member of Holy Spirit Province, Australia. He currently serves on the General Council and is stationed in Rome.