Br. Benedict Tutty, of this community, created the very striking Stations of the Cross in this church. His last station, station 14, the empty tomb, shows a simple, uneven circle etched in clay – an invitation into the mystery.
Saint John invites us into the mystery – his story is designed to coax us into belief. “These are written”, he says, “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ.” 20:31
Enter Thomas. A scientist at heart – looking for evidence not mystery. On Holy Thursday he listened to Jesus, “you know the Way to the place where I am going.” Thomas struggles. “How can we know the way, when we don’t know where we are going”? Thomas wants the map. Are we going to Cappernaum or Cappamore, Jerico or Jerusalem? And how can you be a way, a road, a street? Explain please.
A week later, the disciples are locked in a room, terrified. Jesus comes among them, blesses them, and fills them with his spirit. Thomas is absent – the ‘Way’ dead ended at the crucifixion – he saw the nails go in – it’s over for Thomas. Later, he gets an urgent message, “come back, we have seen the Lord” – he doubts their story – he wants the evidence, those nail holes will do and if I can touch his side. He returns – Jesus is among them and graciously offers him his hands and his side.
Resurrection strikes, “she taught me what her uncle once taught her how easily the biggest coal block splits if you get the grain and hammer angled right”. It happened in a split second – he enters the mystery – “My Lord and My God” – he steps through the circle – moves from maps and explanations into the dangerous and exacting life of faith – no longer in charge of his destiny – faith moves from explanation to passion – “My Lord and my God”. Comfortable, linear explanation gives way to circular, uncertain, participation.
He has no idea what’s next for him and it doesn’t matter. His need for evidence trumped by the risen one.
He is ready for mystery – he has seen the way of the Cross.
It is obedience – my Lord.
It is worship – my God.
We too are invited to enter the circle in obedience and to worship – to walk through the burning fiery circle into our divinity.
Fr Simon Sleeman OSB