Saturday, 26 April 2014

Doubtful

Gospel of John 20:19-31

In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.

‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’


After saying this he breathed on them and said:

‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him:

‘You believe because you can see me.

Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’
There were many other signs that Jesus worked and the disciples saw, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.


Having gone back to work immediately after Easter, it is surprising how long ago all that pomp and celebration seems. How much focus there is on getting back to normal.

Maybe the same for you? It shouldn't be. We have as many Easter days to look forward to as we had Lenten days. We are nowhere near Ordinary Time yet. Yet the shops have moved from chocolate decadence to gardening tools and keep fit equipment. The advertisements are selling holidays and diets. The world likes to suggest that there is always something else a little better around the corner.

The disciples don't believe there is something better. They are locked into a tomb of fear until Jesus comes to release them. The gift of the Holy Spirit proving his continuing love for them and the work he believes they are capable of. The gift and the work that is now ours...

As the Father sent me so am I sending you...

Thomas gives Jesus the opportunity to show how this works.

Despite their own original fears and apprehensions - the disciples doubted Jesus all through his ministry;
doubted the vocation of servant;
doubted the need for sacrifice;
doubted the Resurrection;
doubted the women;
doubted they could go on without him

Yet it is only Thomas who has been branded as a 'doubter'. Not because he doubts Jesus but because he doubts the disciples. After all, the disciples are still in their hiding place.

The disciples shame is that they still doubt themselves.
Easy then to put the 'doubting' title on Thomas and ignore the grace to forgive his 'sin' by retaining a sense of superiority.

In our Diocese we are promoting New Evangelisation. Which should not be so 'new' any more, given that it was Paul VI who first used the phrase 50 years or so ago. The intention to respond to the new challenges that the contemporary world creates for the mission of the Church. 

We've been visited by a relic. 

We have had encouragement to celebrate the Sacraments. 

We have renewed rites of devotion to Our Lady and the Sacred Heart.

We have returned to the study of and 'devotion' to the Catechism. 

We have memorised the new Rite of the Mass.

We have celebrated our Catholicism and the uniqueness of our faith.

We may think we are moving forward but have we simply changed the blinds on our enclosed hiding place? 

Have we really just found more ways to lock out those who most need the Risen Lord? If Jesus refused to be restrained by stone walls then isn't it time we 'left the building' and started taking the Gospel to others?  Witnessing to those who are not in the right place at the right time. 

What if Thomas met me?

Would I offer peace or point the finger?

Would I consider myself the friend, the servant, the humble one?

Would I forgive the burden that Thomas carried - no matter what it was?

Would I forgive the burden in me that sometimes fails to meet the challenge?

Would I put my hands into the pain and suffering of the world and still kneel with Thomas to say; 

My Lord and My God


wordinthehand2014










1 comment:

Lynda said...

So thought-provoking. Before we go out to evangelize, we need to make certain that we have something to offer the people in the world. Do they want to learn the catechism or will we take Jesus and introduce people to the Christ, the one with whom we have fallen in love? The world needs the unconditional love of God just as it always has and the only way that people will see or experience or know this love is if they witness it in the lives that we live. Thanks for another great reflection.