Whoever is begotten by God conquers the world (1 Jn 5, 4)
The risen Jesus penetrates our blindness, breaks through our deafness, overcomes our defenses and allays our fears, so that we may believe in him and have life in his name.
The disciples, afraid of the authorities, and perhaps disgusted with themselves for their unfaithfulness to their Master, find safety in the darkness of night and in a house with locked doors. But the Risen One surprises them.
The one who was abandoned and even denied by almost all of them does not show any resentment. He reassures them twice: “Peace be with you.” Still trusting them, he entrusts them with his own mission of peace and reconciliation. And since there is nothing about “cheap grace” in this mission, Jesus says to the fainthearted, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
It is because, for one thing, the mission has to do not with an innocuous abstract idea, but rather with the tough reality lived by the Teacher who now shows them his hands and his side. For another, true reconciliation demands that the sins of the unrepentant be retained. Moreover, in order to grasp reality in its fullness, one must courageously venture into what is unknown to the senses. Those who insist on seeing to believe cheat themselves.
Surely, reality cannot be limited to what is perceivable by the five senses. That something cannot be perceived by the senses does not mean it does not exist. So, then, blessed indeed are those who have not seen and have believed, those who see what is essential, which is invisible to the eye (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry). Human knowledge is still catching up with the revelation they have received.
By faith’s intuition one understands that “a Church that has had a few accidents” as she “goes to the byways” is by far preferable to a Church that has fallen sick from not moving and from being closed. Enlightened by faith, the Church knows better than to “be overly preoccupied about herself and her own future,” lest it becomes too timid in times of crisis or too silent in the face of evident evils.
By the light of faith, as St. Vincent de Paul teaches us, we see that the poor, gross and earthy before discriminating worldly eyes, are the ones who represent to us the Son of God who willed to be poor (FrXI:32). Faith passes from the reality, “There will always be poor people in the land,” to the reality, “There is no needy person among them.” And the latter is certainly what is pointed to and demanded by the Eucharist, which likewise forbids partiality.
Lord, teach us to believe to see.