Were You There?

Our Gospel readings for Mass every day since Easter have been Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances to his disciples. Today we listen to John’s account of Jesus’ encounter with “Doubting Thomas.” In other days this past week we’ve listened to the account of Jesus’ appearance to the disciples on the road to Emmaeus, to his appearance on the beach to Peter and the others, and so forth.

The inclusion in the lectionary of one appearance after the other underscores something I (and others) wrote about immediately after Easter: the importance of our spending time being with Jesus in the joy of the Resurrection.

One of the songs we always sing on Good Friday is “Were you There.” We all remember the first three verses: Were you there when they crucified my Lord?…Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?…Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?”

But it is equally important for us to recall the final verse: “Were you there when they rolled the stone away?”

As important as it is for us to remain with Christ to his death, it is equally important that we be with him when the stone is rolled away. If I’m willing to die with Jesus, I must also be willing to live with him, to share in the joy of the Resurrection.

So let us, as we stand here a week after Easter Sunday, continue to (in St. Ignatius’ words) “feel joy and happiness at the great joy and happiness of Christ our Lord.”