By FR. RITCHE SALGADO, OCarm
Ps 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
1 Pt 1:3-9
My Lord and my God.
This was Thomas’ profession of faith when he finally had an encounter of the resurrected Christ and experienced the never ending mercy of God despite his inability to believe by mere account of the other disciples.
We exactly do not know why Thomas doubted, so to speak, nor could we really say that he doubted, but one thing is certain, God fulfilled his desire, who, as with the other disciples, were still grieving the loss of a friend and teacher. He was in darkness and his desire was simply to see the risen Lord.
An encounter with the risen Lord for Thomas sparked hope on the truth of the witness of Jesus Christ – truth in the message of love, truth in God’s loving mercy and compassion for mankind. Truth, that despite being engulfed in darkness, there is light, there is hope because there is the resurrection.
What does this mean for us today, when hope seems elusive especially for our brothers and sisters in the margins of our society.
Where is God’s compassion for the poor who only wants to live in peace but driven away by greedy capitalists? Families losing their homes, abandoning their homes because the government would deliberately bomb their homes in order to flush out a perceived enemy, which they could not otherwise defeat on the ground. On the other side of the coin is the fact that these families have been opposing a multi-billion project, deemed to be a priority of the government. They are not anti-development, mind you, but they know that such development would destroy their community, their livelihood, and the environment that they have been protecting for generations. With the frequency of flooding because of mindless development, it is not surprising for people to realize that development does not necessarily mean progress and a better life for the poor. It could mean more problems and more suffering.
Where is God’s mercy for a boy who lost both his father and mother, killed by the very people supposedly tasked to protect innocent civilians like his parents? Nabbed under the cover of night, dragged outside their home like an animal to be slaughtered, verbally abused, assaulted, attacked, and finally, shot. And the little boy saw this, witnessed the painful night when he lost his father and the mother who loved his father so much. Where is God’s mercy and compassion when the killers are able to walk scot-free by virtue of evidence which the victim’s family alleged were planted by the rogue operatives?
Where is hope for the victims of rape who now has been given the added burden of proving that the actual act of rape happened before they could be given justice and protection? Victims, who are already facing the trauma of the violent event, the pain of telling and retelling their story, now hope has been stolen from them. Darkness engulfs them as our esteemed justices decides to favor the rapist instead of the victim. Instead of assuring the victim that the law is on their side, they have assured the perpetrators that they don’t have to suffer the consequences of their dastardly act.
Compassion is but a concept, mercy is elusive, hope seems unattainable for our poor brothers and sisters, for those in the margins of our society, and it will remain so if we continue to allow ourselves to become agents of evil, to be the festering wounds on the body of Christ.
But mercy and compassion, can be the light that would give hope to victims of abuse and injustices if we allow ourselves to be channels of God’s love for our suffering brothers and sisters who are groping in darkness.
Jesus Christ was a light for Thomas and more so after his death, on his resurrection when he showed Thomas that in the darkness of injustice and grief, there is the resurrection. There is hope.
Jesus was that hope for his disciples and his presence assured them of the peace, of the shalom, that could only come from him.
Let us be bearers of that hope. Let us bring the hope of the resurrected Christ to our brothers and sisters who are victims of the evil and injustices of this world. And let us allow them, let us assure them, that although the journey in achieving true peace is a difficult one, this journey can be made light if we take it together, if we are there for each other, in our struggles and in our victories, just as Christ was there for his disciples, and most especially for those whose faith has been weakened by hopelessness.
Balik-Tanaw is a group blog of Promotion of Church People’s Response. The Lectionary Gospel reflection is an invitation for meditation, contemplation, and action. As we nurture our faith by committing ourselves to journey with the people, we also wish to nourish the perspective coming from the point of view of hope and struggle of the people. It is our constant longing that even as crisis intensifies, the faithful will continue to strengthen their commitment to love God and our neighbor by being one with the people in their dreams and aspirations. The Title of the Lectionary Reflection would be Balik –Tanaw , isang PAGNINILAY . It is about looking back (balik) or revisiting the narratives and stories from the Biblical text and seeing, reading, and reflecting on these with the current context (tanaw).