You think you know someone. When you live with someone for several years and you see that person every day, you think that you know them well. I am sure that the disciples thought that they knew Jesus. They considered Jesus a true friend. They followed him and they listened to his teachings every day. Jesus was known to be a carpenter from Nazareth where he still had family living. Jesus was wise and compassionate. He was a great teacher and a kind healer. Jesus knew how to bring the best out in a person and he often called people to a new life of discipleship and service to one another. Jesus was a person of great charisma and he drew people to himself, great crowds of people. The powerful leaders among the people of Jesus’ time were annoyed with him and opposed him but the poor and weak sought him out and appealed to his generous nature. Jesus was an exceptionally good human person. This was the Jesus that the apostles knew. Jesus was a natural leader and the apostles all felt that he was destined for great things and that one day he might even rule all of Israel in a newly established kingdom.
The apostles had faith in Jesus and they believed in him. This faith was not yet the transcendental virtue that would allow them to see him in his divinity but was more of the nature of a trust in his abilities. The apostles knew that he could do great things and he constantly amazed them. Jesus tried to get the disciples to adopt a greater faith and to see something greater in him, a greater than Abraham, a greater than Moses, a greater than Jonah, a greater even than David, the great king. Jesus wanted his disciples to see that he was more than a great teacher, healer and leader, a great human being. He was not only a great human but he was also divine. He had a special relationship with God the Father. He will tell his disciples that, “The Father and I are one.” (Jn 10,30) and, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father…Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves.” (Jn 14,9.11) Still, the apostles never fully understood the divinity of Jesus as the Son of God during the time of his ministry.
The disciples of Jesus witnessed the arrest, the torture and the death of Jesus. Jesus died and was laid in a tomb like any other human person. The disciples gathered together in the Upper Room with the doors locked because of their fear of the people that had put Jesus to death. Then, something unexpected, amazing and incomprehensible happened: Jesus came and stood in their midst. He showed them his wounds and these wounds were not bleeding, infected and putrid as would be expected. The wounds of Jesus, that were the signs of the sins of humanity that he had endured on the cross, were clean and even glorious. The wounds were not healed, they were transformed in glory. Jesus says simply, “Peace be with you.” Jesus offers reconciliation and forgiveness through which sinful humanity can be transformed to have a share in the divine life of the Father. The disciples no longer see Jesus only as Teacher or Master but now they see him as Lord. When Thomas meets them later, they excitedly tell him, “We have seen the Lord.” The disciples finally understand and believe that Jesus is both fully human and fully divine. Jesus then breathes the Holy Spirit on them and entrusts to them the ministry of reconciliation, with the authority to forgive sins and transform the world.
St. Paul instructs the Corinthians: “Consequently, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh; even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know him so no longer. So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” (2Cor 5,16-21) We are ambassadors of Divine Mercy to proclaim the message of divine reconciliation in the wounds of Christ Jesus that now shine forth in glory. Jesus is Lord! We have been made new in his love. There is some part of the Father’s divinity that shines forth in us.
Now we can know Jesus. He is not just a teacher, healer, friend and all around great guy but he is our Lord and Savior. With confidence now we can place our faith in the Divine Mercy, our Lord, and be reconciled to God. Now our faith transcends the darkness and doubt of the world and allows us to see and share in the glory of our Lord. May we always rest in his peace!