The Stories We Tell to the Next Generation – Our Community Builders

Jijo Kandamkulathy, CMF

Claretian Missionaries

2nd Sunday of Easter=B

The gospel today presents two apparitions of Jesus to the Sunday community of the disciples. The Resurrection of Christ had begun to gather the dispersed disciples back into their group. When Jesus was arrested, the disciples had dispersed. Most of them disappeared in ways that would have offended the leader who moved and lived with them for three years. Judas had betrayed him, and Peter, the senior-most among them, had denied him three times. And yet, the risen Christ gave only peace and joy to his disciples. There was no sign of condemnation toward the disciples who deserted him. The overwhelming feeling of being forgiven was enough to gather them together into a community again.

The Church was being formed as a community around the Resurrection and forgiveness. A memorable scene from the movie 2012 shows us the building of a new world, a new community. Adrian, the scientist, challenges the politicians’ decision to exclude the people who worked to make the safety ships for the flood times from entering those ships. His question “If we start our future with an act of cruelty, what will we tell our children, and their children?” His intervention would finally change the mind of the politicians to accept the poor people into the ship. What is important is how we build a new community of the Resurrection. What are the stories we will hand down to the next generation?

Jesus’ narrative is a story of forgiveness certainly. And he wanted that the disciples would, in turn, retell this story to their next generation. So, the risen Lord offers peace, first of all, to their troubled hearts. He also wants the disciples to start the new community with strong hope, a deep conviction in the Resurrection. We find Jesus also replacing the story of the despondent Emmaus disciples with one of hope and the Resurrection.

Jesus also builds them into a community of strong faith who can witness to the Resurrection. So, he allays the doubts of the disciples about the fact of the Resurrection. Not all the disciples believed in the Resurrection (Mt 28:17). Saint John pictures Thomas, the Apostle as the symbol of all doubting disciples. Thomas refuses to believe unless he touches the wounded side of Christ. Jesus invites him to do exactly that, to touch and believe. His obstinacy vanishes and makes his confession of faith, “My Lord and my God.” He actually believes without touching, though there are paintings that depict the opposite. Well, they are not scriptural. The invitation to all who doubt is to gather with those who have experience of the Lord, (the Church) and you will believe without seeing.

While the disciples were involved in the story of the Resurrection and hope, the Temple authorities were crafting another story of the theft of the body and failure of the soldiers’ watchfulness. They developed a story founded on lies. In fact, our societies keep spinning stories about themselves and others continuously. Some stories are founded on lies and others on hatred. There are others who evolve stories of care, love and compassion. It is of vital importance to be conscious of the stories that we narrate ourselves and that others narrate to us. When we become part of the stories of hope and the Resurrection, we are witnessing to the risen Christ.

(Photo: 14995841 at Pixabay)