An Avalanche of Hope

thumbnail42Reading for this week:  John 20:17-31

In centering upon the most important event in history this week, I decided to share with you some portions of the new encyclical, full of hope and truth, written by Popes Francis and Benedict, Lumen Fidei (Light of Faith).  In addition, I was struck by some wonderful words of Catherine deHueck Doherty, along with one of the most important passages from St. Paul’s letters, so I hope all of these awe-inspiring teachings will be of assistance as we ponder the last half of John 20.

Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”  Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.  On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”   John 20:17-19

“Christ’s death discloses the utter reliability of God’s love above all in the light of his resurrection…If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, says St. Paul (I Cor.15:17)…Precisely because Jesus is the Son, because he is absolutely grounded in the Father, he was able to conquer death and make the fullness of life shine forth.  Our culture has lost its sense of God’s tangible presence and activity in our world.  We think that  God is to be found in the beyond, on another level of reality, far removed from our everyday relationships.  But if this were the case, if God could not act in the world, his love would not be truly powerful, truly real, and thus not even true….Christian faith is faith in the incarnation of the Word and his bodily resurrection; it is faith in a God who is so close to us that he entered our human history.  Far from divorcing us from reality, our faith in the Son of God made man in Jesus of Nazareth enables us to grasp reality’s deepest meaning and to see how much God loves this world and is constantly guiding it towards himself….”   -from Lumen Fidei, Sections 17 and 18

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.  So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.”  But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.”  Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them.  The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.”  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands;  and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.”  Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”  Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”   -John 20:24-28

“(We) need knowledge, we need truth, because without these we cannot stand firm, we cannot move forward.  Faith without truth does not save, it does not provide a sure footing.  It remains a beautiful story, the projection of our deep yearning for happiness, something capable of satisfying us to the extent that we are willing to deceive ourselves.  Either that, or it is reduced to a lofty sentiment which brings consolation and cheer, yet remains prey to the vagaries of our spirit and the changing seasons, incapable of sustaining a steady journey through life….Today more than ever, we need to be reminded of this bond between faith and truth, given the crisis of truth in our age.  In contemporary culture, we often tend to consider the only real truth to be that of technology:  truth is what we succeed in building and measuring by our scientific know-how…Yet at the other end of this scale we are willing to allow for subjective truths of the individual, which consist in fidelity to his or her deepest convictions, yet these are truths valid only for that individual and not capable of being proposed to others in an effort to serve the common good…In the end, what we are left with is relativism, in which the question of universal truth–and ultimately this means the question of God–is no longer relevant.  It would be logical, from this point of view, to attempt to sever the bond between religion and truth, because it seems to lie at the root of fanaticism, which proves oppressive for anyone who does not share the same beliefs.  In this regard, though, we can speak of a massive amnesia in our contemporary world.  The question of truth is really a question of memory, for it deals with something prior to ourselves and can succeed in uniting us in a way that transcends our petty and limited individual consciousness.  It is a question about the origin of all that is, in whose light we can glimpse the goal and thus the meaning of our common path.”  -From Lumen Fidei, Sections 24 and 25

(Jesus Christ) is the image of this invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  He is the head of the body, the church;  he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent.  for in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.    -Colossians 1:15-20

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“Hope should allay fear; it should kill fear….Christ has risen; and every moment can become the moment of beginning again….In our search for reality, in our running from fear, in all of those emotional problems, there is hope.  Stretch out your hands and hope will come to you, and whatever seems hopeless will be filled with light….We say that ‘perfect love casts out all fear.’  But do we believe it?….Hope makes us see that our price has been the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of Christ.  Hope is like an avalanche of sorts, or like a fire that enters into you and renews you.”  -Catherine deHueck Doherty, in Safely Through the Storm, Herbeck

Have a beautiful week, centered on Christ, upheld by the prayers of Mother Mary.  -jc