Living off his presence
The story in John’s Gospel cannot be more suggestive and compelling. Only when they see the risen Jesus in their midst do the gathered disciples get transformed. They recover peace, their fears disappear, they are filled with a joy they have never known, they notice Jesus’ breath over them and they open their doors because they feel they are sent to live out the same mission that he had received from the Father.
The current crisis in the Church, her fears and her lack of spiritual vigor, originate at a deep level. Often, the idea of Jesus’ resurrection and of his presence in our midst is just another doctrine that is more thought oft and preached than an experience that is lived.
The risen Christ is at the center of the Church, but his living presence does not take root in us. It is not integrated into the substance of our communities and it does not usually nourish our projects. After twenty centuries of Christianity, Jesus is not known or understood in his originality. He is neither loved nor followed as he was by his disciples.
One notices right away when a group or a Christian community feels this invisible but real and active presence of the risen Christ remaining in it. Its members are not content with following routinely the directives that regulate Church life. They possess a special sensibility to listen, seek, remember and apply Jesus’ Gospel. They constitute the most healthy and lively spaces in the Church.
Nothing and no one can give us today the strength, the joy and the creativity that we need to confront an unprecedented crisis in the way the living presence of the risen Christ can do so. Deprived of his spiritual vigor, we will not get out of our almost innate passivity, we will remain with our doors closed to the modern world and we will continue doing “what is commanded,” without joy and conviction. Where will we find the strength we need to recreate and reform the Church?
We have to do something again. We need Jesus more than ever. We need to live off his living presence, to remember on every occasion his criteria and his Spirit, to rethink constantly our lives, to let him be the inspiration of our action. Better than anyone else, he can transmit to us more light and more strength. He is in our midst, communicating to us his peace, his joy and his Spirit.
April 12, 2015
2 Easter (B)
John 20, 19-31