By Sadie Curtin
As a Catholic, I have always found great intrigue and inspiration in the first apostles, the friends, of Jesus. I often imagine what it would have been like to have heard Jesus speak, to have laughed with him, to have shared meals with him, and to have embraced him.
It must have been a relationship beyond words and one that filled each person with joy and passion.
As I place myself in the room when Jesus visited them after the Resurrection, the only thing I can imagine is pure shock, followed by extreme elation. I am left to imagine the celebration that must have ensued. The Resurrection of Jesus, arguably the most amazing occurrence ever also accompanied great confusion because not everyone was present when Jesus came to the apostles. The Gospel tells us of Thomas who was not there to physically witness Jesus’ presence;
he is someone that needed proof that Jesus was indeed alive.
As a fellow human being who doubts and wonders, it is simple to imagine myself reacting similarly to Thomas, needing to touch Jesus’ wounds so that I could know for certain that Jesus was indeed risen, and that my friends were telling the truth. Now, it is not plausible that I will have the chance to physically touch Jesus’ wounds, but Jesus makes an important statement: "Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." So, what does this mean as a Christian in 2016, some 2000 years after the Resurrection? I am in the company of so many believers that have not seen or touched Jesus, and part of a long history of believers and testifiers of the Resurrection without the proof of Thomas.
This leads me to believe that Jesus has been seen through other people, beginning with the first apostles.
Jesus leaves them with his peace, fills them with the Spirit, and sends them on a mission to love God and love their neighbor. Christ’s peace and Spirit are the gifts given to all Christians at Baptism, and the mission to love God and love our neighbor is an expectation of all who identify as Christian. In order to meet Jesus and come to know him more fully, I rely on the presence of Christ found in my neighbor.
Perhaps my proof of Jesus’ Resurrection is not discovered by touching his wounds, but rather through the voice of others,
in the shared laughter with a friend, in the shared meal with a co-worker, or in the embrace of a family member. Just because my experience of Jesus is not tangible like the first apostles, it is certainly just as inspiring and moving if I open my eyes and allow Christ to be seen in the face, voice, and touch of my neighbor.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sadie Curtin is the Co-Director of Faith Formation at the Church of the Gesu and a graduate student of Pastoral and Theological Studies at Ursuline College. She is a lover of travel and new adventures, but is proud to call Cleveland home. She fills her time with laughter, singing, enjoying sweet treats, and most recently running -- all because someone asked her to share in The Living Person challenge!