Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sunday Gospel Reflection, April 23, 2017: Unless I see...

How strong is your faith? 

   If faith is a celebration of our relationship with the Lord, then the author of Psalm 118 was in a joyous mood.  Having been delivered from we know not what, the king and his people are processing into the Temple precinct in order to celebrate their relationship with the God who has saved them:  By the Lord has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes!  Their hearts are full of rejoicing; their mouths sing God’s praise.  They have faith.

   The disciples’ faith comes into question in our Gospel from John, where, on the very Sunday of the Resurrection, their doors are locked.   Mary of Magdala has already announced to the disciples, I have seen the Lord, but they remain in a place of fear, and come to faith only (and only partially) when he appears in their midst.  Yet, a week later, those doors are still locked, and the formerly absent Thomas expresses his doubts:  Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.  As soon as Jesus appears, however, Thomas believes, proclaiming his faith with fervor:  My Lord and my God!  He has faith.

   Only once the disciples left behind their fear – their locked doors – were they able to get comfortable with what they knew in their hearts:  that Jesus has risen from the dead and is with us still.  Only then can the disciples enter that place of awe described in the Acts of the Apostles, living with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God.  Did they ever fear?  Certainly.  Nevertheless, they had faith; they trusted in their hearts, knowing that in their relationship with the Lord, there can be no barriers.  Only then do they come to understand that God has given them, as 1 Peter clearly states, a new birth to a living hope, and are safeguarded through faith, a genuine faith that will allow them to survive any trial.  Their faith was strong and gave them an indescribable and glorious joy – is yours strong enough to do that?

This post is based on Fr. Pat’s Scripture class.

Image source:  Wordle

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