EXPAND YOUR READING!!

"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

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Sunday, 12 April 2015

THE HOLY FIRE IN JERUSALEM (MOSTLY 2015) plus THE PROCLAMATION OF THE HOLY YEAR OF MERCY BY POPE FRANCIS


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Do not hate the sinner, for we are all laden with guilt. if for the sake of God you are moved to oppose him, weep over him. Why do you hate him? Hate his sins and pray for him, that you may imitate Christ Who was not wroth with sinners, but interceded for them. Do you not see how He wept over Jerusalem? ... Why, O man, do you hate the sinner? Could it be because he is not so righteous as you? But where is your righteousness when you have no love?... Be a herald of God's goodness, for God rules over you, unworthy though you are. Although your debt to Him is so very great, He is not seen exacting payment from you; and from the small works you do, He bestows great rewards on you. Do not call God just, for His justice is not manifest in the things concerning you. – Saint Isaac of Syria, Ascetical Homily #51
Proclaiming jubilee, Francis envisions non-judging, non-condemning church
Joshua J. McElwee  |  Apr. 11, 2015
Holy Year of Mercy

VATICAN CITY Officially proclaiming the upcoming jubilee year of mercy, Pope Francis has powerfully called on the entire Catholic church to refashion itself as a place not of judgment or condemnation but of pardon and merciful love.
Writing in an extensive document convoking the year, which will begin Dec. 8, the pontiff states that the church’s "very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love."

"Perhaps we have long since forgotten how to show and live the way of mercy," writes Francis in the document, released Saturday evening with the Latin title Misericordiae Vultus ("The Face of Mercy").

"The temptation ... to focus exclusively on justice made us forget that this is only the first, albeit necessary and indispensable step," the pope continues.

"The time has come for the Church to take up the joyful call to mercy once more," he states.

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"It is time to return to the basics and to bear the weaknesses and struggles of our brothers and sisters," writes the pontiff. "Mercy is the force that reawakens us to new life and instills in us the courage to look to the future with hope."

Francis also notes that Dec. 8 will mark the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council and says: "The Church feels a great need to keep this event alive."

Francis' document, released Saturday during a prayer service at St. Peter's Basilica for the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday, officially proclaims the extraordinary jubilee year the pontiff first announced last month.

The jubilee, which is to be called the Holy Year of Mercy, will begin on this year's Catholic feast of the Immaculate Conception. It will close on Nov. 20, 2016, the day celebrated that year as the feast of Christ the King.

Explaining his reasons for calling the mercy jubilee with the some 9,500-word document Saturday, the pontiff firmly identifies mercy as the central function of the church and the key aspect of Jesus' ministry and work.

Exhaustively citing from the teachings of previous popes and stories from the Old and New Testaments, Francis also says mercy is a key attribute of God's actions towards human beings and that our own exercise of pardon will determine how we will eventually be judged.

In one section, the pope quotes from Peter's question in Matthew's Gospel about how many times it is necessary to forgive, where Jesus responds: "I do not say seven times, but seventy times seventy times."

"This parable contains a profound teaching for all of us," states Francis. "Jesus affirms that mercy is not only an action of the Father, it becomes a criterion for ascertaining who his true children are."

"In short, we are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us," he continues. "Pardoning offences becomes the clearest expression of merciful love, and for us Christians it is an imperative from which we cannot excuse ourselves."

Later in the document, the pope mentions that every holy year involves a process of pilgrimage for people -- whether it be in coming to Rome to celebrate the year or in personal prayer.

Then, quoting from Luke's Gospel, Francis outlines two steps everyone needs to make on their own pilgrimages.

"The Lord asks us above all not to judge and not to condemn," states the pontiff. "If anyone wishes to avoid God’s judgment, he should not make himself the judge of his brother or sister."

"Human beings, whenever they judge, look no farther than the surface, whereas the Father looks into the very depths of the soul," writes Francis.

A jubilee year is a special year called by the church to receive blessing and pardon from God and remission of sins. The Catholic church has called jubilee years every 25 or 50 years since the year 1300 and has also called special jubilee years from time to time, known as extraordinary jubilee years.

The pope begins Saturday's document by explaining the process of the holy year, saying that on Dec. 8 he will be opening the special holy door of St. Peter's Basilica to mark the beginning of the jubilee.

Francis states that he hopes that with its opening, the door "will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope."

To emphasize that the special year is just not for those able to come to Rome, the pontiff says he is going to ask every diocese to identify a similar "Door of Mercy" at a cathedral or other special church to be opened during the year.

"Every Particular Church, therefore, will be directly involved in living out this Holy Year as an extraordinary moment of grace and spiritual renewal," writes the pope.

Francis notes that the holy year will begin on the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council.

"With the Council, the Church entered a new phase of her history," writes Francis. "The Council Fathers strongly perceived, as a true breath of the Holy Spirit, a need to talk about God to men and women of their time in a more accessible way."

"The walls which too long had made the Church a kind of fortress were torn down and the time had come to proclaim the Gospel in a new way," he continues. "It was a new phase of the same evangelization that had existed from the beginning."

Among other special initiatives for the holy year, Francis also announces Saturday that during the 2016 season of Lent he will be asking some priests to serve as special "Missionaries of Mercy."

The pontiff says he will ask those priests to go around the world to hear confessions and that he will grant them "the authority to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See."

With that authority, the pope states, the priests will be "living signs of the Father’s readiness to welcome those in search of his pardon."

"I ask my brother Bishops to invite and welcome these Missionaries so that they can be, above all, persuasive preachers of mercy," writes Francis.

The pontiff also says he is giving the holy year a motto taken from Luke's Gospel: "Merciful like the Father."

'God’s justice is his mercy'

Francis spends about two pages in the document addressing the relationship between mercy and justice, which he says, "are not two contradictory realities, but two dimensions of a single reality that unfolds progressively until it culminates in the fullness of love."

Mentioning the Bible's frequent use of the image of God as a judge, Francis says that in many passages, "justice is understood as the full observance of the Law and the behavior of every good Israelite in conformity with God’s commandments."

But he continues: "Such a vision ... has not infrequently led to legalism by distorting the original meaning of justice and obscuring its profound value."

"To overcome this legalistic perspective, we need to recall that in Sacred Scripture, justice is conceived essentially as the faithful abandonment of oneself to God’s will," writes the pope.

Quoting Jesus' response to the Pharisees in Matthew's Gospel -- “Go and learn the meaning of ‘I desire mercy not sacrifice.’" -- Francis says, "Jesus is bent on revealing the great gift of mercy that searches out sinners and offers them pardon and salvation."

"One can see why, on the basis of such a liberating vision of mercy as a source of new life, Jesus was rejected by the Pharisees and the other teachers of the law," he continues. "In an attempt to remain faithful to the law, they merely placed burdens on the shoulders of others and undermined the Father’s mercy."

Meditating then on Paul's letter to the Philippians, Francis states that, "Paul’s understanding of justice changes radically. He now places faith first, not justice."

"Salvation comes not through the observance of the law, but through faith in Jesus Christ, who in his death and resurrection brings salvation together with a mercy that justifies," writes the pope.

"God’s justice now becomes the liberating force for those oppressed by slavery to sin and its consequences," he continues. "God’s justice is his mercy."

Continuing on that theme by exploring the words of the prophet Hosea, Francis states: "If God limited himself to only justice, he would cease to be God, and would instead be like human beings who ask merely that the law be respected."

"But mere justice is not enough," he writes. "Experience shows that an appeal to justice alone will result in its destruction. This is why God goes beyond justice with his mercy and forgiveness."

Jesus: 'Nothing but love'

Earlier in the document, Francis focuses on Jesus' ministry during his earthly life as a sign of the centrality of mercy in the Christian faith.

Citing St. Thomas Aquinas, Francis says that "God’s mercy, rather than a sign of weakness, is the mark of his omnipotence."

"The mercy of God is not an abstract idea, but a concrete reality through which he reveals his love as that of a father or a mother, moved to the very depths out of love for their child," states the pope.

"It is hardly an exaggeration to say that this is a 'visceral' love," he says. "It gushes forth from the depths naturally, full of tenderness and compassion, indulgence and mercy."

Francis mentions how the Gospel of Matthew's account of Jesus' passion states that before his death Jesus sung a hymn that may have been Psalm 136: "For his mercy endures forever."

"While he was instituting the Eucharist as an everlasting memorial of himself and his paschal sacrifice, he symbolically placed this supreme act of revelation in the light of his mercy," writes Francis.

"Within the very same context of mercy, Jesus entered upon his passion and death, conscious of the great mystery of love that he would consummate on the cross," he continues.

"Knowing that Jesus himself prayed this psalm makes it even more important for us as Christians, challenging us to take up the refrain in our daily lives by praying these words of praise: 'for his mercy endures forever.'"

Jesus' person, says Francis, "is nothing but love, a love given gratuitously."

"The relationships he forms with the people who approach him manifest something entirely unique and unrepeatable," states the pope. "The signs he works, especially in the face of sinners, the poor, the marginalized, the sick, and the suffering, are all meant to teach mercy. Everything in him speaks of mercy."

"Nothing in him is devoid of compassion," he says.

Jesus, Francis says, also reveals God's nature "as that of a Father who never gives up until he has forgiven the wrong and overcome rejection with compassion and mercy."

Mentioning the fifth beatitude -- "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" -- the pope states that is the beatitude "to which we should particularly aspire in this Holy Year."

Speaking of how God acts with humans, the pope says, "mercy is a key word that indicates God’s action towards us."

"The mercy of God is his loving concern for each one of us," writes Francis. "He feels responsible; that is, he desires our wellbeing and he wants to see us happy, full of joy, and peaceful."

"This is the path which the merciful love of Christians must also travel," he continues. "As the Father loves, so do his children. Just as he is merciful, so we are called to be merciful to each other."

Applying that attribute to the level of the church, Francis states: "Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life."

"All of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers; nothing in her preaching and in her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy," writes the pope.

'Opening our hearts'

The pontiff also asks that people live the Holy Year by "opening our hearts to those living on the outermost fringes of society: fringes modern society itself creates."

"How many uncertain and painful situations there are in the world today!" exhorts Francis. "How many are the wounds borne by the flesh of those who have no voice because their cry is muffled and drowned out by the indifference of the rich!"

"Let us not fall into humiliating indifference or a monotonous routine that prevents us from discovering what is new!" he continues. "Let us ward off destructive cynicism!

"Let us open our eyes and see the misery of the world, the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are denied their dignity, and let us recognize that we are compelled to heed their cry for help!" he exhorts, again.

Francis also says that is his "burning desire" that during the jubilee year people reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, Christian actions and practices attributed to Jesus' directive in Matthew's Gospel for how his followers should act.

"We cannot escape the Lord’s words to us, and they will serve as the criteria upon which we will be judged: whether we have fed the hungry and given drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger and clothed the naked, or spent time with the sick and those in prison," states Francis.

Inter-religious dimension

Francis also refers the practice of the mercy jubilee to Judaism and Islam, saying: "There is an aspect of mercy that goes beyond the confines of the Church."

The pope notes both that "the pages of the Old Testament are steeped in mercy" and that Muslims often refer to the creator as "Merciful and Kind."

"I trust that this Jubilee year celebrating the mercy of God will foster an encounter with these religions and with other noble religious traditions," states Francis.

"May it open us to even more fervent dialogue so that we might know and understand one another better; may it eliminate every form of closed-mindedness and disrespect, and drive out every form of violence and discrimination," he asks.

Francis' document proclaiming the holy year, officially known as a bull of induction, was released by the Vatican in six languages.

During the prayer service Saturday, Francis symbolically gave the bull to the four cardinal archpriests of the Papal Basilicas. He also gave a copy to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, for distribution to bishops around the world.

The document is signed by Francis with the title "Bishop of Rome, Servant of the Servants of God," and has an invocation "to all who read this letter grace, mercy, and peace."

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is jmcelwee@ncronline.org. Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]


LOVE WITHOUT LIMITS by Fr Lev Gillet (Orth)



“To You, Whoever You May Be”

Whoever you are, whatever you may be, says the Lord of Love, my hand is resting upon you at this very moment. By this gesture, I am letting you know that I love you and that I call you for my own.

I have never ceased loving you, speaking to you, or calling you. Sometimes it was in silence and solitude. Sometimes it was there, where others were gathered in my name.

Often you did not hear this call, because you were not listening. At other times you perceived it, but in a way that was vague and confused. Occasionally you were at the point of responding with acceptance. And sometimes you gave me that response without any lasting commitment. You were deeply moved to hear me. You recoiled from the decision to follow me.

Never thereafter did you finally submit, totally and exclusively, to the calling of Love.

Yet now, once again, I come to you. I want to speak to you once more. I want you wholly for myself. Let me repeat: Love desires you, totally and exclusively.

I will speak to you in secret, confidentially, intimately. I will place my mouth close to your ear. Hear, then, what my lips want to speak to you in hushed tones—what they want to murmur to you.

I am your Lord, the Lord of Love. Do you want to enter into the life of Love?

This is not an invitation to some realm of tepid tenderness. It is a calling to enter into the burning flame of Love. There alone is true conversion: conversion to incandescent Love.

Do you wish to become someone other than you have been, someone other than you are? Do you wish to be someone who lives for others, and first of all for that Other and with that Other who calls all things into being? Do you wish to be a brother to all, a brother to the entire world?

Then hear what my Love speaks to you.

My child, you have never known who you really are. You do not yet know yourself. I mean, you have never really known yourself to be the object of my Love. As a result, you have never known who you are in me, or all the potential within yourself.

Awake from this sleep and its bad dreams! In certain moments of truth, you see nothing in yourself but failures and defeats, set-backs, corruption, and perhaps even crimes. But none of that is really of you. It is not your true “me,” the most profound expression of your true self.

Beneath and behind all that, deeper than all your sin, transgressions and lacks, my eyes are upon you. I see you, and I love you. It is you that I love. It’s not the evil you do—the evil that we can neither ignore nor deny nor lessen (is black actually white?). But underneath it all, at a greater depth, I see something else that is still very much alive.

The masks you wear, the disguises you adopt might well hide you from the eyes of others—and even from your own eyes. But they cannot hide you from me. I pursue you even there where no one has ever pursued you before.

Your deceptive expression, your feverish quest for excitement, your hard and avaricious heart—all of that I separate from you. I cut it away and cast it far off from you.

Hear me. No one truly understands you. But I understand you. I can speak about you such wonderful, marvelous things! I can say these things about you. Not about the “you” that the powers of darkness have so often led astray, but about the “you” who is as I desire you to be, the “you” who dwells in my thoughts as the object of my love. I can say these things about the “you” who can still be what I want you to be, and to be so visibly.

Become visibly, then, what you already are in my mind. Be the ultimate reality of yourself. Realize all the potential I have placed within you.

No man or woman is capable of realizing any inner beauty that is not equally present within you. There is no divine gift toward which you cannot aspire. Indeed, you will receive all those gifts together, if you truly love, with me and in me.

Whatever you may have done in the past, I will set you free, I will loose your bonds. And if I loose your bonds, who can prevent you from rising up and walking?


Copyright © Éditions de Chevetogne, Namur, Belgium, 1971.




source:Glory to God in All Things(click)


St. Isaac stretches love and mercy to it’s farthest limits, occasionally beyond the bounds of canonical understanding. He remains a saint of the Church and his words are very important to hear.



Let yourself be persecuted, but do not persecute others.Be crucified, but do not crucify others.Se slandered, but do not slander others.Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep: such is the sign of purity.Suffer with the sick.Be afflicted with sinners.Exult with those who repent.Be the friend of all, but in your spirit remain alone.Be a partaker of the sufferings of all, but keep your body distant from all.Rebuke no one, revile no one, not even those who live very wickedly.Spread your cloak over those who fall into sin, each and every one, and shield them.And if you cannot take the fault on yourself and accept punishment in their place, do not destroy their character.What is a merciful heart? It is a heart on fire for the whole of creation, for humanity, for the birds, for the animals, for demons, and for all that exists. By the recollection of them the eyes of a merciful person pour forth tears in abundance. By the strong and vehement mercy that grips such a person’s heart, and by such great compassion, the heart is humbled and one cannot bear to hear or to see any injury or slight sorrow in any in creation. For this reason, such a person offers up tearful prayer continually even for irrational beasts, for the enemies of the truth, and for those who harm her or him, that they be protected and receive mercy. And in like manner such a person prays for the family of reptiles because of the great compassion that burns without measure in a heart that is in the likeness of God.
The person who is genuinely charitable not only gives charity out of his own possessions, but gladly tolerates injustice from others and forgives them. Whoever lays down his soul for his brother acts generously, rather than the person who demonstrates his generosity by his gifts.
God is not One who requites evil, but who sets evil right.Paradise is the love of God, wherein is the enjoyment of all blessedness.The person who lives in love reaps the fruit of life from God, and while yet in this world, even now breathes the air of the resurrection.In love did God bring the world into existence; in love is God going to bring it to that wondrous transformed state, and in love will the world be swallowed up in the great mystery of the One who has performed all these things; in love will the whole course of the governance of creation be finally comprised.
Question: When is a person sure of having arrived at purity?
Answer: When that person considers all human beings are good, and no created thing appears impure or defiled. Then a person is truly pure in heart.
Love is sweeter than life.Sweeter still, sweeter than honey and the honeycomb is the awareness of God whence love is born.
Love is not loath to accept the hardest of deaths for those it loves.Love is the child of knowledge.Lord, fill my heart with eternal life.
As for me I say that those who are tormented in hell are tormented by the invasion of love. What is there more bitter and violent than the pains of love? Those who feel they have sinned against love bear in themselves a damnation much heavier than the most dreaded punishments. The suffering with which sinning against love afflicts the heart is more keenly felt than any other torment. It is absurd to assume that the sinners in hell are deprived of God’s love. Love is offered impartially. But by its very power it acts in two ways. It torments sinners, as happens here on earth when we are tormented by the presence of a friend to whom we have been unfaithful. And it gives joy to those who have been faithful.
That is what the torment of hell is in my opinion: remorse. But love inebriates the souls of the sons and daughters of heaven by its delectability.
If zeal had been appropriate for putting humanity right, why did God the Word clothe himself in the body, using gentleness and humility in order to bring the world back to his Father?Sin is the fruit of free will. There was a time when sin did not exist, and there will be a time when it will not exist.God’s recompense to sinners is that, instead of a just recompense, God rewards them with resurrection.
O wonder! The Creator clothed in a human being enters the house of tax collectors and prostitutes. Thus the entire universe, through the beauty of the sight of him, was drawn by his love to the single confession of God, the Lord of all.
“Will God, if I ask, forgive me these things by which I am pained and by whose memory I am tormented, things by which, though I abhor them, I go on backsliding? Yet after they have taken place the pain they give me is even greater than that of a scorpion’s sting. Though I abhor them, I am still in the middle of them, and when I repent of them with suffering I wretchedly return to them again.”
This is how many God-fearing people think, people who foster virtue and are pricked with the suffering of compunction, who mourn over their sin; They live between sin and repentance all the time. Let us not be in doubt, O fellow humanity, concerning the hope of our salvation, seeing that the One who bore sufferings for our sakes is very concerned about our salvation; God’s mercifulness is far more extensive than we can conceive, God’s grace is greater than what we ask for.
When we find love, we partake of heavenly bread and are made strong without labor and toil. The heavenly bread is Christ, who came down from heaven and gave life to the world. This is the nourishment of angels. The person who has found love eats and drinks Christ every day and every hour and is thereby made immortal. …When we hear Jesus say, “Ye shall eat and drink at the table of my kingdom,” what do we suppose we shall eat, if not love? Love, rather than food and drink, is sufficient to nourish a person. This is the wine “which maketh glad the heart.” Blessed is the one who partakes of this wine! Licentious people have drunk this wine and become chaste; sinners have drunk it and have forgotten the pathways of stumbling; drunkards have drunk this wine and become fasters; the rich have drunk it and desired poverty, the poor have drunk it and been enriched with hope; the sick have drunk it and become strong; the unlearned have taken it and become wise.
Repentance is given us as grace after grace, for repentance is a second regeneration by God. That of which we have received an earnest by baptism, we receive as a gift by means of repentance. Repentance is the door of mercy, opened to those who seek it. By this door we enter into the mercy of God, and apart from this entrance we shall not find mercy.
Blessed is God who uses corporeal objects continually to draw us close in a symbolic way to a knowledge of God’s invisible nature. O name of Jesus, key to all gifts, open up for me the great door to your treasure-house, that I may enter and praise you with the praise that comes from the heart.
O my Hope, pour into my heart the inebriation that consists in the hope of you. O Jesus Christ, the resurrection and light of all worlds, place upon my soul’s head the crown of knowledge of you; open before me all of a sudden the door of mercies, cause the rays of your grace to shine out in my heart.
O Christ, who are covered with light as though with a garment, who for my sake stood naked in front of Pilate, clothe me with that might which you caused to overshadow the saints, whereby they conquered this world of struggle. May your Divinity, Lord, take pleasure in me, and lead me above the world to be with you.
I give praise to your holy Nature, Lord, for you have made my nature a sanctuary for your hiddenness and a tabernacle for your holy mysteries, a place where you can dwell, and a holy temple for your Divinity.



Adapted from Bp. Hilarion Alfeyev’s The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian (Cistercian Studies 175), Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 2000.



"


Homily on Second Sunday of Easter (Low Sunday)                                                                 by Dom Alex Echeandía                     Pachacamac, 12th April 2015

                         
      

 “Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe”

Let us begin by describing what happened after Jesus resurrection on that locked room where the disciples were. The last time when Jesus was with all the Apostles was in the upper room, but after his crucifixion and death, he appeared to those who abandoned and denied Him. Surely, they were filled with guilt. But Jesus’ presence filled them with joy, although they were still frightened. Jesus wanted to meet his disciples, and, neither any material thing nor death could stop him to encounter the ones He loved. Just as the cloths that covered Jesus in his burial could not hold him, neither the stone could seal the tomb after the resurrection, so now the looked doors cannot stop Jesus to meet his disciples.
This encounter in a risen body opens up a new creation. This new creation comes from the Spirit of Jesus: “Receive the Holy Spirit”, he said. It is the same Spirit that Jesus was given out at his death from the cross. The Spirit given by Jesus allows people to get free from sin: “For those whose sin you forgive, they are forgiven”. So, the Risen Christ brings a new way of being that allows us to be free from our faults and mistakes, free from our fears, sufferings and pains. It is the Spirit of Christ that makes us free. This liberation is shown through what Thomas experienced in that hidden room.
But, why was Thomas still with the other disciples on that Sunday after Jesus was crucified if he did not believe that the Lord rose from the dead? Was it because, after three years, he remained a friend with the other disciples no matter what?, or was it because he was also persecuted for being known as one of the Twelve? It frequently happens that when a mother of the family dies, the children are not as united as before. As a mother, Jesus becomes the centre of that unity. However, Jesus was not there with them, as they understood it after the first Good Friday.  Everybody, including John the beloved disciple, thought that their master was not with them anymore. John needed to experience the empty tomb and cloths on the floor in order to believe. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
If I say to you that I have a dinosaur in my room, perhaps you won’t believe me. You may say, if I don’t go and open the door of your room, I won’t believe you. The experience of Christ’s resurrection was for Thomas something that cannot easily happen. Thomas knew what a painful, horrible and cruel death is for one to be crucified: “Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe”. He knew that Jesus had died a shameful and humiliating death.  It may be not a surprise that Thomas doubted what he heard, to the point that he refused what his friends and fellow disciples believed.
Thomas reaction shows that he is one of us, especially when it becomes hard to believe the mysteries of God, the love of God and all His goodness that apparently seems to be absent. However, in order to receive the good news that Jesus brings, Thomas needed to have the support of others. He was not alone. He needed the company of his friends and co-Apostles to discover the Risen Lord. It is by the support of other that we come experience the encounter with Jesus, because, as Jesus said, “where two or more are gathered in my name, I am there.” The risen Christ marked with the wounds of his passion comes to Thomas and gives him faith in the company of the disciples. It is true that God revels Himself to those who live by a common charity, as the example of the first community of Christians, as we heard in the first reading: “The whole community remained faithful to the teaching of the Apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.
It seems that the love we experience among our neighbours enables us to believe in the love of God, and so it allows us to experience the risen Lord. Therefore, it is on the soil of love that our encounter with God can be possible, especially when it becomes hard to believe in what God does for us. It is also applied in our lives, in a world where self-satisfaction and selfishness stop and block our minds and hearts to encounter the One who died for us.  
Thomas experienced the loved shared within the Church and also by the experience with the crucified and risen Lord. The experience of Thomas is also our experience of belief and unbelief, but only united with the community of believers and in that close relationship with Jesus, especially in the Eucharist, we can experience the love that God offers.
As we know, Thomas received the mission from Christ to go to the ends of the world to proclaim what he experienced. As Thomas, we also are called to tell others what we experienced at Easter. The Good News that God loves us to the extreme that He sent his only Son, Christ our Lord, to saves us all and to make a new creation. This new creation begins here and now.
We leave in a society of suspicious and mistrust. We don’t trust the banks, especially after the global crisis. We also are suspicious of politicians and even our neighbours. Although we need to trust other in order that we can find some solution to our difficulties, we still doubt of what they do and why they do this or that. Trust is part of our lives on earth. We need to trust doctors who prescribe medicine for us, we need to trust the pilot in the plane because he knows how to transport us to our destiny. We cannot do everything by ourselves. We need to trust other in order to find ourselves in a better situation.
Now, if we can find some good from our doctors, pilots, chuffers, and many other people, it is necessary to be open to the One who can offer us the real happiness. He will teach us how to love, how to live and how to die. What Christ offers us today through the experience of Thomas is an example of how fragile we are in order to move forward. It is a human thing to question what we cannot understand. But, as Thomas believed what Christ said and offered to him, the same Christ will opens up our hearts to trust him in order to enter into this journey of faith. The starting point of this journey of faith comes from what Christ said about us: “Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe”
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