More and more frequently we hear the phrase "fake news" being tossed around about things
happening all around the world. Surely it is becoming more and more difficult to know the entire truth of an event or alleged situation with the variety of opinions, biases and interpretations that people, stations and reporters will put onto a story. With the advent of new medias and communications, it has become nearly impossible to understand where the truth is, and it often requires us to search and read multiple accounts before finding the truth of the reported story. Yet so often, we believe one story, one account, that we begin to get shaped into it, and demand solid evidence to be convinced otherwise.
As Catholics however, we have the good news- the great news that saves the world! We have the good news of that the tomb is empty, that Jesus has risen from the dead. This is the news that reminds us of the infinite God, who is not defeated by death! We have the great news that our personal God and creator loved us so much that he died for our sins, but most importantly he was raised from the dead and the sins did not win. Our personal God is stronger, higher and above death, and that through his own death on the cross has transformed death into new life. This is the good news- the news which we are charged to spread across the world.
I have heard so often the argument that there has been no proof for the resurrection and that it is indeed fake news. My argument back has always been, do you really expect a group of 11 men to be able to share the same lie to the point of being persecuted, punished and killed for a lie. If this was a lie and a cheat then we would expect these men to give in or change their story dramatically as they faced this persecution. But they didn't. These 11 men and their converts stuck to the same faith and held onto the good news that Jesus Christ had indeed raised from the dead. The rich roots of our faith lies in the deep conviction of these eleven men, their first-hand account of the Christ event. Their news could not have been a lie. This, to me, is the proof of the Resurrection. That this news has lasted 2000 years of history and has been able to remain alive in each age that it has existed in.
Todays Gospel offers us an appearance of Jesus after he had resurrected from the dead to his 11 apostles. We hear of two appears he made in the upper room to them, and the commissioning he instills into the apostles. Firstly, he appears to the ten who were all gathered. As he came upon them, he sent them forth, as he has been sent. Further, he gave them the power to forgive and to retain the sins of those who have done wrong. Then the passage shifts to Thomas and his own post-Resurrection faith journey. Since he had doubted the apostles account that they had just seen the Lord, it could be assumed that he was not with them when Mary had come back with the good news as well. So Thomas, after the crucifixion appears to have distanced himself from the group and for whatever reason was not there and the first two significant times after the resurrection. Upon hearing the great news, he denies it, refuses to believe it and acts like it is fake news.
But then something marvelous happens after he exclaims his doubt- he has a personal encounter with Christ. It is at the sight of Jesus, gathered with the others, that he believes. His wish is fulfilled and he is able to reach out his hand into the side of Christ and within this action Christ eradicates his disbelief. Then he acclaims what I believe to be the most personal phrase in the entire Gospel of John, " My Lord and My God." This is not only a simple prayer that Thomas exclaims but it acknowledges the greatness and understanding of the actualization of the good news.
As Catholics and believers in a resurrected life, we are commissioned to be witnesses of the risen Christ to everyone around us. For certainly our news is not fake, but rather is life giving and a news that wants to be shared. For upon hearing the great news of the resurrection- the great news of the love of our personal creator- one cannot but be filled with joy and share it. Our goal is to be a witness to the faith and share the joy of the risen Lord, who wants us all to be gathered with him.
We are filled with the Good News of Jesus Christ. We are the proof of the living truth that has existed for 2000 years and it a news that we cannot keep to ourselves. Now more than ever we are called to communicate and exclaim with joy the greatness of the risen Christ. May we come to bear witness to the risen Christ and may we come to be fully convinced of the good news we have and like Thomas be able to say "My Lord and My God" at the sight of the risen Christ among us.