Third Sunday of Easter

April 23, 2023

Sister Anne Madeleine Brost, OSB shares a favorite essay related to the scripture readings for the Second and Third Sundays of Easter.


I recently received a copy of a Russian icon depicting the resurrection. Elements from the gospel narratives are arranged around: the earth swirling like the waves of the sea, the stone rolled away, the angel, the women. In the center, nothing. That was the message given to the women. “He is not here. He is elsewhere.” This is suggesting the reality of a different universe. The risen Lord is not to be sought within the confines of space and time. He is elsewhere.

The story is complicated then by the fact that although elsewhere, Jesus makes sudden appearances to the women and, then, to the disciples—as many as five hundred, according to Saint Paul. He passes through locked doors, and yet his body is real; he eats and can be touched. So it seems that elsewhere is also here, but invisibly. The two zones coexist and overlap. That is why Jesus can promise to be present wherever two or three gather in his name and to be with his people until the end of the age. He is with us and, yet, cannot be seen.

In his response to Thomas’s profession of faith, Jesus makes the surprising assertion that unseeing faith is superior to faith that sees. That our contact with Jesus is deeper and stronger because we cannot see him. This seems to mean that there is a seeing that is unseeing, and an unseeing that is seeing. Two different modes of sight. The intense relationship with Jesus, and through him with the spiritual world, becomes more potent by not being subject to the distraction generated by physical sight. We are the privileged ones.

The power of faith to see what is unseen and unseeable is subject to development. If we want to grow in faith, we have to exercise it. The fundamental way of doing this is to spend time enveloped in nothing. We need to carve out space in which we can be apart from the things of space and time and available for communion with the risen Lord. Even while we remain on earth, it is possible for us also to be elsewhere.

Casey, M. (2019). Balaam’s Donkey: Random Ruminations for Every Day of the Year. Liturgical Press.


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