Divine Mercy, 2nd Sunday of Easter Reflection
In a single instant, the world of Thomas is thrown upside down. Touching the wounds of the Christ, all the teachings, all the structures, all the heritage of the generations, and all the heavy burdens of the ages fall away, meaningless, totally absurd. Touching the wounds of Christ, Thomas has touched the universal pattern of undoing death; all the striving and all the desires, everything that had been important up to this instant, discarded like the skin of the caterpillar.
Each one of us has now touched the wounds of Christ, in each other and also within the world that we all have created; so much pain, so much suffering, and so much despair. We have touched the wounds and we have felt the pain, and our world of today can never be the same again. Do not divert your gaze, look upon the wounds, see them and touch them. Our ferocious caterpillar appetite is exposed and seen by everyone for the selfishness which it is.
What dare we now hope for is the Butterfly emerges? How way we hope that all will be saved, that all may be reconciled and redeemed? How can we return to this vision given to us by the Christ event?
Yes, the butterfly of a new consciousness is emerging and we as a people are facing the adventure of new possibilities, but first, we must discard the old wineskins and images that no longer serve us as God’s family.
Much of religion has clung tenaciously to the image of an embodied male God, the God of Mars, the God of War; a God made in our own image in all we can subdue, in all we can own and subjugate of man and beast alike, entitled and dominating. We may acknowledge that God is spirit and that the church is our mother, yet this most ancient images of the men of Empire and subjugation clings to our language, our liturgy, and our art.
The church is our mother and we so desperately need the compassion of a mother. Perhaps this lack of a motherly God-image is the reason for our well-developed muscle of petty and all too often spiteful and prejudicial justice while Mercy hangs limply from the socket.
Without this mercy and forgiveness for myself, for others and for all of creation, we are not free; and because Love needs freedom, unforgiveness blocks us from experiencing Love; blocks us from experiencing God; blocks us from being authentic to our purpose as a God-image.
This dominion over the earth, sometimes understood in a one-sided and superficial way, seems to leave no room for Mercy. If we do accept that we have been made by God who is good; made by Love, and that the purpose of our lives must be to Love and to be Loved, our hearts will be forever closed in on ourselves, empty and avoid of joy.
Love cannot exist without forgiveness as much as it cannot exist in indifference, because un-forgiveness is always about me and the past; is always about my precious; my opinions; my honour; my hurt; my loss and my needs. While Love is always about the other; Love needs the good of the other; Love must be in the present.
This is our great doubt and the great need; the tension between Justice and Mercy; the tension between our great need for forgiveness and our desire for retribution. Without finding that possibility of forgiveness in my own heart, I have blocked myself off from Mercy. Without foregoing my own desire for compensation, for retribution, I have closed the door to the great gift of Mercy that Love offers us.
Together let us seek to discard all of these old images which can never portray the truth and beauty of the emerging butterfly. Like the butterfly, we must also learn to walk lightly in creation, to feel and participate in that energy of God’s spirit that pulsates throughout the universe.