The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul
Easter Week II, Year C, 28 April 2019
Acts 5:12-16///Revelation 1:9-11, 12-13, 17-19///John 20:19-31
We Filipinos have an expression that best captures the faith of Easter experience, something very close with the universal expression “aha!”. It is what I call as the “a basta!” experience.
From the Spanish word “basta” which means “enough” like what St. Teresa of Avila said in her poem, “Solo Dios basta” (Only God is enough/suffices), our “a basta!” expression is often used to insist on something to be accepted as true. Its closest English equivalent is “that’s it” to show that the issue at hand is settled because I have confessed it so.
On this octave of Easter which means eternity (because there are only seven days in a week but if you count the days since Easter, this Sunday is the eighth, an octave), the beloved disciple reminds us that Jesus said other things not recorded in his book; and most likely, he had had other appearances too not recorded simply because they are impossible to do. According to John, these were all written so we may all believe Jesus is the Christ and have eternal life in him. Moreover, there is no need for him to go into so many details about the appearances of Jesus after his Resurrection because what really matters most is the intensity of his presence. It is from that intensity of his presence we derive that “a basta!” experience of him. To be open to accept such intense moments of Christ’s presence leads us to deeper faith in him and eventually, to a relationship with him and in a community.
Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”John 20:26-
“Do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Last Sunday we have reflected how the Easter stories are always set in darkness like in the early morning, at sunset, and in the evening: the joy of Easter always comes bursting in the darkness of our lives, when we are down and suffering, sick or feeling lost, and fearful. It is during those dark moments of our lives when Jesus silently comes to us even in locked doors and windows. Problem is the moment Jesus comes to us, that is when we doubt him like Thomas! We could not believe Jesus is really alive though deep inside us, we do believe if only there could be be something within us that could give that final big push for us to say “a basta!”.
A week after his first appearance to his disciples at night, Jesus appeared anew today despite locked doors, darkness, and shadows of doubts within Thomas. When Jesus told him to “do not be unbelieving, but believe” , the Lord was not reproaching him but actually exhorting him to believe. And that is likewise addressed to us today: believe!
To believe is first to accept the gift of faith from God who opens himself to us, inviting us to a relationship with him. To believe in God is to meet him who always comes to meet us, to be with us. To believe in God is most of all to enter into a relationship with him so that that more we believe, the more we “see” him, the more we experience him. Most of the time we learn and get so many proofs of the existence of Jesus Christ in our prayers, studies, and experiences. Through time, we also grow in our personal conviction and acknowledgment of the Risen Lord, surpassing all proofs and logic until eventually even if we can enumerate our many reasons for believing, in the end, we admit that not even one of them is the very reason for our faith in Jesus Christ. And that is when we give that burst of “a basta!” – – – Jesus is alive! Then we learn to confess like Thomas, “My Lord and my God.”
The Resurrection of Jesus is both historical and beyond history that made so much impact in human life, affecting us in the most personal manner. Sometimes we really wonder like the Apostle Jude Thaddeus who asked the Lord during the Last Supper why he would only manifest to them and not to everyone (Jn.14:22) so as to cast out all doubts and set the record straight that there is God indeed. When we examine our life journey, we find there is really no need for Jesus to appear at all for everyone to believe his existence, that he had risen from the dead, that there is God.
The Easter stories show us how God works silently in our midst, always slowly and surely, gradually through history and in our personal life. It is not really his appearances that matter but the intensity of his presence felt only in silence when we learn to trust more and believe more. How wonderful that on this eight day of Easter we also celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday that invites us to trust more than ever Jesus Christ our salvation. May we entrust ourselves to Jesus anew like Thomas, touching his wounds, confessing “My Lord and my God” or “Jesus, King of Mercy, I trust in You.” Amen.