I love Easter! I love the readings, the flowers, the extra Alleluias, the joy and of course the Resurrection.
During our weekly staff meeting our priest loves to lead us in a small Lectio Divina of the upcoming Gospel for Sunday. This weekend’s Gospel comes from John 20: 19-31. Growing up I always knew this story as the one of “Doubting Thomas” and even then, I didn’t know what to make of it. In my opinion, Thomas gets a bad rap.
“Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “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.”
John 20: 24-25
Even when I was younger I wondered, where was Thomas? The streets were not safe for the Apostles. On Holy Thursday, Peter was almost captured to be prosecuted with Jesus, and by now news had spread that Jesus’ body had gone “missing.” The Apostles were hiding in a locked room when Jesus appeared and we find out that Thomas was not hiding with him. In my opinion Thomas was either very brave or very stupid. With everything that was happening in the region at the time, there must have been something very pressing for Thomas to leave the safety of that room.
Thomas was also very intelligent, he asks for very specific proof. Thomas knew the brutality that Jesus endured and that if Jesus was truly risen, there would be some marks left. Even scientists today look for very specific outcomes and if their results do not fit the norm, they question why. It is also very normal to question in order to understand. I do not think that Thomas asked this question because he did not want to believe but rather that he did not know how to believe. All the Apostles were still grieving Jesus’ death prior to seeing him again, and since Thomas hadn’t seen, we was still grieving.
“Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
John 20: 26-29
Thomas has my favorite “light bulb” moment in the Bible, “My Lord and my God!” Not just “oh hey, it is you,” or some other greeting but my Lord and my God. When Peter was answering about who Jesus was, Peter replied, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God” Matthew 16:16 (emphasis mine) but Thomas fully admits that Jesus is Lord. No doubt, no hesitation, just bold.
On top of everything, this weekend is Divine Mercy Sunday. If you are not familiar with the devotion to Divine Mercy you can check it out here. St. Faustina received many messages from Christ and often was described as “Jesus’ secretary.” The most important messages were about Christ sending his Mercy out on the world. The message can be boiled down to this 1. Ask for Christ’s Mercy 2. Be Merciful 3. Completely trust in Jesus.
In the Gospels we hear many pursuing faith and asking for help with their unbelief. We are completely human. We are limited and flawed, and because of this doubt is only a part of the human condition. Even though we doubt, with the help of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, we have the same boldness of St. Thomas and all the Saints every time we say “Jesus, I trust in you.”
If you have never prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet or it has been a while, please take a look at this web page from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, How to Recite the Chaplet.
Happy Feast of Divine Mercy!
[author][author_image timthumb='on']http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Amanda-e1319548807143.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Amanda Castro is a Youth Minister and Director of Religious Education at a small rural Iowa parish. Some of her students have begun a crusade to try and stump their youth minister, even so far as asking the local Bishop for help. If they could have remembered the Latin they would have succeeded too! Aside from being happily newly married to her best friend, her passions include (but are not limited too) her 9 nieces and nephews, the Mass, Adoration, and photography. You can find her new blog at Defined by Faith.[/author_info] [/author]