Be not afraid - Believe! 2nd Sunday of Easter C

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Father Jim Valk

April 2, 2013

A village in the southeast of the States was experiencing the worst drought of their history. Nothing would bring rain: no science, no “magic” brought hope. Finally, one elder in the community mentioned that there was an Indian Rain Maker in the area. Why not try him? He was called, told the problem and asked for a solution. He promised to come if the whole village would attend. Do not be afraid, I will come. Be ready. The next morning the whole assembly formed a circle and the Rain man came. Do you think I can do this, he asked. Oh Yes, they replied. We have faith in you. If that is so, said the man, if you really believe, where are your umbrellas. And he went home.

What challenges our faith? What signs do we need to believe? To respond? When there is sickness, hurts, scandals, when doubts rise up, do we seek out God? Do we reach out to the one who said, do not be afraid? Where do we find God? On my little book- Children's Letters to God- a little girl prays to God. God are you real, are you there? A lot of people don't think so, so you had better do something quick. .

Thomas, the twin, wanted something quick- something that he could understand.. He wanted a sign- he wanted some certitude. In that upper room, Thomas was not present when Jesus came. He entered the room, a room that was locked. Doesn't love break down the doors of our doubts, our hurts? Being together so often gives us the strength to see beyond. Thomas was not there- where was he?- and so had no support of the community. Do we miss out when we are absent? When we withdraw? When we want to give up? Sometimes we have too much to do, no time and so are not always aware of where God moves in and through our life.

But Jesus is the focal point of our faith- his faith in us. If someone does not “see” God, I must ask myself if I have witnessed God today. The French poet, Paul Claudel wrote- we should not speak about Christ unless asked; live so that others want to ask us what Christ is like. We are signs of God's presence, we are the face of God in and by what we say and do.

The old man had let go of God slowly- old, weathered, alone. He had not been to Church for some time. The pastor went to visit one cold and wintry night. They sit in silence in front of the fireplace, a good fire burning. An ember jumped out of the hearth. The old man went to put it back in but the pastor signaled, leave it. As they watched the warmth and then the fires went out of the ember and laid there, cold. Nothing more was said but the old man came back to the community. The message- no love without the community.

It seems to be a hard road, but Jesus walks into our lives, opens the hidden parts of our lives and hearts and says- do not be afraid. Touch me; know that I am real; that I am with you. God breaks into our lives and our life can never gain be the same. Where do we touch God today? Who needs God's touch and faith comes alive again? And we also find PEACE.

Thomas finds his faith- nay deepens it in and through his Community. In that Community Jesus has made his home. Thomas is a twin- we know him and he is us. Once again we are invited to hear God's call, feel God's presence. Today, God tells us carry our umbrellas- Do not be afraid. He is with us always.