Today’s Thoughts: In our Gospel today, John offers us three diverse, yet united encounters. First, Jesus appears to the frightened apostles, minus Thomas. He offers them peace, then invites them to take on his mission, a mission he received from his Father, and then breathed upon their fear and confusion the gift of the Holy Spirit sending them forth with the mercy of God to offer the forgiveness.
Next it is now a week later, Jesus appears to the same group of apostles, this time including Thomas. As we have learned from the time in between the two visits by Jesus, Thomas, needs to see signs and wonders. So, Jesus invites him to see and touch the signs and wonders of his Passion and believe. Thomas’ simple respond is, “My Lord and my God!” Perhaps in other words, “I believe.” Jesus then asks Thomas to not depend on signs and wonders anymore but to have faith, to see differently.
Finally, at the end of today’s Gospel, John tells us that he has written enough for us to believe without seeing. Yes, there were other signs and wonders after the Resurrection, but these which have been recorded are offered so that all who read and all who pray with them might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God and through faith, they will have true life in his name.
Good old Thomas is such a good friend to us and so are the apostles gathered together in fear and separated by their individual shame at having abandoned their teacher, friend and Lord. They are living our doubts, our fears, our shames, and our desires to see just a little bit more so that our faith will be strengthened. It seems that God knows us better than we know ourselves. A little bit more would always be just a little bit more of what we would want. Thomas wanted to see more than he had heard his companions had seen. Jesus reminds Thomas, the others and us that seeing is not believing, but rather believing is a way of seeing beyond what can blind us.
This seeing beyond is the gift of the Holy Spirit and it leads to us being sent out beyond ourselves as well. We are sent, as the Holy Spirit was sent to us, to attract others to Christ, to the Father. How we live by faith and not by sight is a graceful challenge to this “I need to see to believe world.” If we walk by faith and not by sight, then we will make the world around us uncomfortable. If we try to live by faith and not by sight, we can become a sign and wonder to the world of God’s wonderful and awesome mercy and love.
Our struggles to live faithful, hope filled, and loving lives by going out, being sent, is the miracle of our times. By our life of faith, we become reminders that there is a beyond and what we see is the creative mercy and love of God. As reminders, we give new life to this creative mercy and love. Easter is our time for walking by faith, for going out and beyond.
Have a great Second Sunday of Easter everyone.
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...