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REFLECTIONS

PENTECOST

"On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  When he had said this to them, he showed them his hands and his side.  The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Reflection:

Pentecost brings Jesus’ ministry to a focus: we are sent to continue Jesus’ ministry, armed with the Holy Spirit and specific instructions as to what we are to do: forgive. By his ascending into heaven and sending the Holy Spirit Christ makes his mission our mission. It is a great miracle that God chooses to make us real participants in God’s plan of salvation and sharers in God’s divine life. To forgive doesn’t mean to forget; it means to restore love.  This is the ministry for which the Spirit empowers us, and this is how we can live in peace. (Living Liturgy, p. 150)

PENTECOST

From fear to faith.

Pentecost is a feast of fear and gifts, from locked in to fearless and zealous.  We might listen to the readings to get in touch with our fears and gifts, where we feel locked in and what we want to be released from. 

Jesus Resurrection words to his followers were, “Peace be with you.”  To this very day we use these words every time we gather to celebrate our Eucharistic meal.

These words of Jesus have power and promise.  For the apostles the words of Jesus turned their fear into faith.  From anxious and doubting followers they were transformed into believers and proclaimers.  They are a reminder to us that Christ still turns our fears into faith.

To Jesus locked doors were no obstacle.  He became present, “Peace be with you.”  “They locked the doors of the place where they were . . . ” They were in hiding, afraid, confused, some may have been hopeless.  Jesus comes and says, “Peace be with you.” In the Acts they were again all gathered in one room and through wind and fire God makes his presence known.  We call this presence the Holy Spirit.  Again God calls them from fear to faith.  He moves them to be able to preach “the marvels of God.”

The promise of Pentecost is ours too.  God calls us from fear to faith.  He wishes to move us to be able to preach about the “marvels of God.”  One of the marvels of God is the giftedness of each and every person.  Ours is a call to a church in which there is cooperation of gifts not competition.  Today we are called to reflect on our fears but also on our Gifts.  In the past I have asked a group to identify their gifts.  The response was slow in coming.  Than I asked them to identify their fears, they came fast and furious.  When parents are asked to identify negative behavior of their children they can quickly make a list.  Can they as quickly make a list of positive behaviors?  Our promise is that Jesus and the Holy Spirit will do for us what he did for the early church.  The Holy Spirit wishes to help us to get loosed where we are stuck.  The Spirit helps us to get released when we feel locked in.  God is calling us too from fear to faith.

Pentecost, another reflection. 

Literally, a paraclete means anyone “called in” to help. So the translation that appeals to me most is “comforter.” Less pugnacious, dominating, “masculine” than “advocate,” just as connotations of “caregiver” are different applied to a doctor (male or female) or to a nurse (male or female). The doctor aggressively challenges; the nurse compassionately comforts. 

The Holy Spirit manifests what Carl Jung called the “feminine” aspects of the one God: intuition, creativity, inclusiveness, mercy, unconditional love. Aspects also associated with ignition and the fire in the hearth the mother guards. We see it here in Jesus’ lovely sensitivity: “I will not leave you orphaned.” God doesn’t want us lost, dislocated, alien, rootless. 

Yahweh has that same expansive empathy for the alien and the orphan, responding to the desolating sense of abandonment that the crucified Jesus felt, the alienation slaves–-Hebrew or African--sang of: “Lord, do not forsake us in the wilderness” and “Sometimes ah feels lak a muthahless chile, a long wa-ay from home.” Each of us has felt it, when nothing makes sense anymore, when nothing seems worth challenging anymore, when paralyzing winter seems to have taken up permanent occupancy in one’s soul. 

Our first encounter with such traumatic dislocation was birth. For nine months, we’d been as close to paradise as we’ll ever be on earth–-warm, floating, fed, without a worry because we couldn’t think. Then we were rudely ejected into cold and noise, and our first gift from life was a slap to set us screaming. The prime task of the caregivers was to get us as quickly as possible back next to that heartbeat that had been our assurance for nine months. Mother. 

Later, when we’d awaken from nightmares in the dark, alone, disoriented, without any landmarks, we cried out–and in an instant, she was there, flipping on the light, wrapping us in her arms, crooning, “It’s okay, honey. It’s okay.” And it was okay. Mommy meant meaning, healing, connection--not only with everything outside us but everything inside, too. Before we had a reasoned philosophy of life–-far more important–-we had “Mama,” assurance of belonging, being valued, being “at home.” 

A spark of God’s Spirit lurks within each of us (Hindus and Buddhists teach that, too) and propels us upward from other animals, tries to civilize us, makes us grasp at least in some dim way the sacredness of our souls, wrenches us away from the animal drives within us to degrade ourselves and others, triggers a discontent with mediocrity, pettiness, hypocrisy. I suspect God’s Spirit in us is the irritant we feel when we’re tempted to settle for ordinary, small lives.

During this week, if you really listen, you might sense whispers along the back corridors of your soul, a voice not unlike Obiwan Kenobi’s calling Luke Skywalker from safe anonymity. I’m daring you to listen. Quite likely it’ll murmur something discomforting, like “Is this all there is? Is that all you want? Just to have survived?” If you hit a patch where tedium shoves you back on your heels, wondering which way is up and how the hell you ever got into this cement mixer, that disquiet is quite likely God’s Spirit trying to convince you that you were born for better than rat races, that discovering a felt purpose for the tedious tasks ennobles them–-and you. The Spirit’s waiting (if you have time to sit with her) to help you reconnect the disparate pieces of your life, re-weave all those seemingly incompatible priorities into an organic self, establish within you the realization that, yes, within this skin you are “at home.” 

She sits outside our doorways, patiently waiting, to help us claim our life’s inheritance: being sons and daughters of the God who is the aliveness within everything that is.

Source of reflection: David Jackson

 

ASCENSION OF THE LORD

The conclusion at the end of Luke’s Gospel contains a surprise. “While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven.  And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.”24:51

Why were they full of joy at his definitive departure? They are obviously convinced of a new presence of Jesus.  He has a new manner of presence with them.

This feast teaches us about our final destiny and our present mission.  Our final destiny is union with the Risen Lord with his Father in the glory of heaven.  Our present mission is to bear witness to the Word of God.

Jesus came into the world, was born, lived, suffered, died, rose from the dead and ascended into glory.  In his glory with the Father he sent the Holy Spirit.  We too have been born, live, suffer, will die, share in Christ’s resurrection and go to our glory too.  For  many people birth, life, suffering and death are experiences apart from God.

St. Paul writing to the Christians of his time, prayed: “May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him.  May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what the hope that belongs to his call is, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe¼in this age but also in the one to come.”

For St. Paul life in the Spirit of Jesus Christ was special.  Life with Jesus was like light, life without Jesus is like darkness.  We are called to know this life with Jesus; we are called to know his light and life.

Jesus said in the first reading, “Wait for the fulfillment of my Father’s promise, of which you have heard me speak.  John baptized with water, but within a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit,.”  the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  If someone were to ask you if you have been baptized, you would say yes.  Have you been baptized with the Holy Spirit?  The Acts of the Apostles speak several different times about baptism of the Holy Spirit.

We know that heaven, glory, being with God is our final destiny.  But sometimes we are like the apostles in the first reading of today.  We sometimes “stand looking up at the skies.”  The apostles are told, “This Jesus who has been taken from you will return, just as you saw him go up into the heavens.”  Like the Apostles then we must be about our present mission.  We should not be overly concerned about the time of the Second Coming of the Lord.  We should be concerned about receiving “power when the Holy Spirit comes down upon you; then you are to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, yes, even to the ends of the earth.”  Isn’t that something?  We who are gathered here have received this witness going all the way back to Jesus and the Apostles.  We too are to be witnesses of Jesus in our own time and in our own city.  We too are to know the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our final destiny is not yet.  We are a pilgrim church, a people on the way.  We will experience in our life, sufferings, disappointments, discouragement, mistrust, broken promises, frustrations, etc.  All of this will continue to be part of our life.  We are “not Yet” at our final destiny.  We must look forward in hope to the time of glory when every tear will be wiped away and we will see you our God as you are.  We realize that eye has not seen nor ear heard nor has it entered into our hearts the things God has prepared for those who love him.  But we must not stand gazing heavenward to the detriment of carrying out our witness in the world today.  Besides our final destiny, being a Christian means living in the here and now. We are to live in contact with Christ ascended.  We are to work for the building up of Christ’s body.  We are to love one another.  We are to receive the power of the Holy Spirit for this work.  Let us ask God to help us to prepare for the Feast of Pentecost.  Let us ask God to send the Holy Spirit into our lives.  May we be strengthened for our present mission and look forward with hope to our final destiny.

Source of reflection: Dave Jackson

 

SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

Today’s scriptures hold some powerful promises and creative challenges. 

Promises:

In the Gospel:

As the Father loves me, so I also love you . . . I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete.

I have called you friends.

. . . whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.

n the second reading

. . . love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.

In this is love; not that we have loved God, but that he loves us . . .

In the first reading:

In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.  Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.    

Creative challenges:

The first reading must be heard in its context.  Chapter 24 begins with Cornelius having a vision. “He saw plainly in a vision an angel of God come to him. . . ”  He is told to send men to summon “one Simon who is called Peter.”  The scene then shifts to the next day, “while they were on their way and nearing the city, Peter went up to the roof terrace to pray about noontime.”  “He fell into a trance.  He saw heavens open. . . ”  Peter is told to “slaughter and eat.”  The problem is Peter says “Certainly not sir.  For never have I eaten anything profane and unclean.”  “The voice spoke to him again, a second time: ‘What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.’  This happened three times. . . ”  “The next day, he (Peter) got up and went with them.”

It is at this juncture that today’s first reading begins.  The words that I quoted above in the promise section are spoken.  Then wonder to behold, “the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word.”  “The circumcised believers . . . were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also.”  The Gentiles were speaking in tongues and glorifying God.  Peter orders them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

 Many elements of this story point to its significance.  Cornelius, a Gentile,  saw plainly in a vision and receives a message from an angel.  Peter in prayer falls into a trance and saw the heavens open.  He makes the judgement that some things are profane and unclean.  The voice a second time tells him “What God has made clean, you re not to call profane.”  But once wasn’t enough, twice wasn’t enough, “this happened three times.”

We must not gloss over the beginning of Peter’s speech.  “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.  Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.”  In our time these words take on a powerful new meaning for contact between Christians.  But they must also be applied to contact with non Christian religions.  The majority of people in our world are not Christians.  We must hear these words as applying to that majority.  They must also be attended to when we hear the words, “Unless you accept Jesus as your personal savior you cannot be saved.”  These words contradict explicitly what Peter learned from his trance vision and the voice that spoke to him.  Peter who denied Jesus three times, who was questioned by Jesus three times as to his love for Jesus, needed  three times to have his vision and hear the voice speak.  

In the second reading from 1 John we heard, “Love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.”  The operative word here is EVERYONE.  So many Christians do not have the joy of Jesus in them let alone complete joy.  How many preachers seem up tight and haranguing their congregations.  We must learn from other seekers such as the Dalai Lama and Mohandas Gandhi.  The list could be multiplied.

Hopefully we won’t be among those who get to heaven and are startled to find out that there are so many people there who never even heard of Jesus. 

Clearly this Sunday is a call to rejoice in the promises but to let ourselves and our attitudes be challenged by the experience of Peter and Cornelius.

Source of reflection: Dave Jackson

 

FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

In today's Gospel, Jesus tells us he is the vine and his Father the vine grower. He is the vine and we are the branches. He also says his Father cuts off some branches and prunes others.

In our life when we are going through some difficulties it may feel as though we are cut off from God. In today's First Reading we hear about an experience that Paul had. He had gone through his conversion experience but he couldn't escape his past. He was still seen as a persecutor of the Christians. Through the advocacy of Barnabas he was introduced to the Jerusalem community. However, the Hellenists (those who spoke Greek) still wanted to kill him. The community sent him on his way to Tarsus (his home town at least 300 miles away). This was the second time he had experienced rejection. When he tried to preach in Damascus, he had also been rejected and had to escape from the town under cover of darkness by being let down out of the walled city in a basket.

How do you think Paul felt when he arrived home after these experiences of rejection? Confused, disappointed, depressed, overwhelmed, etc. He probablyt felt like he had been cut off from God. As later history and experience would prove he was only being pruned by God.

Rejection, lack of acceptance can be powerful factors affecting people. Think for a moment if you will of the two students at Columbine High School who killed a number of students and then ended up killing themselves. Many factors were involved in this incident but one of the repeated thems we heard about why they did this was they they were rejected, ostracized or excluded by their classmates.

Jesus tells us in the Gospel that we are to remain in him and to bear fruit. We all bear fruit of different kinds. In every class in school there are people who are leaders and those who are followers. We had a Christian concert the other night. There were over 150 kids and their parents here. The musicians were trying to get the young people to get involved in the music and the gestures. At first there was reluctance. Then a couple of girls got up and began to participate by singing and doing the gestures. Then a few more people got up and joined them. In short order practically the entire group had joined in. It made for a much more enjoyable and fun filled evening. This is a simple example but I think one that makes the point. Our actions bear fruit. We can influence for good or for bad.

Someone has said, "Evil triumphs because good people do nothing." Sometimes in our life it may feel that we are cut off from God. But pruning is of different kinds. When I visited the wine country of Napa Valley in California, I noticed coming into the vineyard that it looked like a tornado had gone through. I found out that the vines had been radically pruned to increase the quality of the grapes. Sometimes that is what God is doing in our lives. We must be people who remain united to the vine which is Jesus and strive to bring forth good fruit.

Source of reflection: Dave Jackson

 

FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

On an early morning in Israel I sat atop a little hill reading the scriptures and pondering some of the new meanings coming from actually walking the land that Jesus walked.  A slight movement on the gentle slope across the valley from the hill where I was caught my attention.  I only caught it out of the corner of my eye, my peripheral vision.  But when I looked up from the bible to catch sight of what had moved I didn’t notice anything.  Then as I returned to my reading, it happened again.  This time I gave a longer look and I became aware of some slight movement on the far distant slope. I watched more intently.  Gradually it became clear to me that a flock of sheep were slowly moving up the hill.  I would notice a scurried movement at the front of the flock and then something similar at the back of the flock.  My watching became a studied observation.  I gradually discerned that in the midst of the flock was a shepherd.  I noticed his arm move in one direction and then another.  Finally I deciphered that he was throwing little pebbles, to the front of the sheep that were leading the flock to make sure they did not get too far ahead.  As he cast a stone up ahead of them, they would slow and then stop.  Then he would cast a pebble to the back of the sheep, bringing up the rear, to speed them up a little.  Gradually and consistently the flock progressed together up the hill.

“I am the Good Shepherd.”  The words sounded in my ears.  I reflected that in a way the Good Shepherd has dealt with me in this gentle and loving way.  I also thought it was significant that the shepherd was leading from the midst of the flock.  On top of these thoughts I also remembered an experience of Gandhi’s that I had read about.  While on march with some of his followers Gandhi had stopped to talk with some people at the side of the road.  But then looking ahead he saw that the people journeying with him had moved on ahead of him.  He said:  “There go my people I must hurry and catch up for I am their leader.”

Sometimes this Sunday falls on the same day as Mother’s Day.  We have a popular church song, which says, “Like a shepherd he feeds his flock and gathers the lambs in his arms, holding them carefully close to his heart, leading them home.”  A friend of mine who works in the mountains of Peru told me that most of the shepherds there are women.  The song almost works better with these words, “Like a shepherd she feeds her flock and gathers the lambs in her arms, holding them carefully close to her heart, leading them home.”  Good shepherding is done for us by Jesus and by his followers.  We are called to be Good Shepherds to one another.

We must also be conscious that some people masquerade as good shepherds but are really thieves and robbers.  Sadly we are experiencing this of some priests throughout the world.  We must pray for the victims and work to Protect God’s children.  We must also pray for these priests.  We must pray for our Church that we deal better with these thieves and robbers. Pope Francis met with much turmoil on his visit to Chile.  He defended a bishop saying that those who were critical of his appointment to a diocese were committing "Calumny."  When he returned to Rome (even on the plane ride returning) Pope Francis took a less dogmatic tone.  He sent a Bishop, (well known for his work concerning sexual abuse accusations) to conduct in depth examinations.  When the pope read the report he took a completely different position. He confessed he had made a terrible mistake and asked forgiveness from the victims.  He wrote a letter to the Chilean bishops expressing that he had been badly advised.  He also scheduled a visit of all the Chilean bishops to come to Rome. Pope Francis impressed us when he went to confession before hearing confessions.  Now he surely has set an example for us.  When we make a mistake or even a terrible blunder, can we admit our mistake and ask for forgiveness? To me it is no coincidence that Pope Francis said that humiliation and humility are connected.

This Sunday let us reflect on how the Good Shepherd has dealt with us.  When has he had to slow us down, when has he tried to speed us up?  Who have been the people that have exercised the Shepherding role for me?  How do I exercise my call to Shepherd others? Do I have the true humility that Pope Francis has demonstrated to own his mistake and ask for forgiveness and try to find ways to remedy the situation?

Source of reflection: Dave Jackson

 

THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER

The Gospel this Sunday is from Luke’s last chapter (24).  This chapter can be looked at as a triptych.  It consists of three scenes, the empty tomb, the journey to Emmaus and the final scene of mission and ascension.  The three scenes each share some commonality.  There is a unity of time, the same day.  There is a unity of place, in Jerusalem (or going away from).  There is a unity of persons  “those of our company.” They are unified by the theme of “fulfillment.”  They all continue the “journey” theme.  This makes for an impossible day chronologically, but not theologically.

In the preceding Emmaus scene the disciples do not recognize Jesus until the breaking of the bread.  In this scene the entire community is assembled when Jesus himself stands in their midst.  His first greeting, here as elsewhere is “Peace be with you.”  However the assembly’s reaction reveals none of the joy and hope which pervaded the end of the Emmaus story.  They are at first “startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost.” Their incredulity shows that they had little comprehension of who Jesus was and what he had undergone. Jesus calms their fears by showing them his hands and feet, inviting them “touch me and see” and by pointing out that a ghost does not have flesh and bones as they see he has.  For the disciples this was too good to be true, but they joyfully knew that it was true. As they look on in wonderment, Jesus asks for something to eat.  He takes it and eats it “in front of them.”

Together with peace, forgiveness is one of the prime gifts of the risen Christ in both John and Luke. Jesus taught them and us “that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations . . . ” Forgiveness permeates the other readings of this Sunday.  In the Gospels we recall the denying of Peter, the doubting of Thomas, the fleeing of all the apostles.  But denial, rejection, sin are not the final word.    John Donahue reflecting on this gospel tells us: “The resurrection is victory over these deadly elements in life.  Karl Rahner once wrote: ‘we are always tempted to stay in sin because we do not dare to believe in the magnificent love of God, and because we do not want to believe that God will forgive us our sins’ (The Content of Faith, p. 306).  The experience of such love and irrational forgiveness touched the denying Peter, the doubting Thomas and the fleeing disciples, and remains the enduring gift of the risen Christ to his followers.”

Donahue also points out, “recently the church has moved from proclaiming the necessity of forgiveness to asking others to forgive those sufferings perpetrated by the very community that strives to embody the presence of the risen Christ.”  He also tells us, “Today forgiveness “to all nations” has moved from the religious and individual to the global political sphere.”


If we are to know the Peace of Christ we also must be involved with forgiveness at every level, personal (asking forgiveness and forgiving); at the global level, being part of efforts at forgiveness and reconciliation.  Clearly it means not being part of or supporting war making, arming others, supporting violence.


Pope Francis has just published another Apostolic Exhortation, On the Call to Holiness in Today's World. At this point I have not read the entire document but I do wish to share this part: 

101. The other harmful ideological error is found in those who find suspect the social engagement of others, seeing it as superficial, worldly, secular, materialist, communist or populist. Or they relativize it, as if there are other more important matters, or the only thing that counts is one particular ethical issue or cause that they themselves defend. Our defence of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is
always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of
development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection. {84} We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty.

Source of reflection: Dave Jackson

 

SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER

Thomas the Twin dominates today’s Gospel.  In popular use, hardly anyone named Thomas has not been dubbed, “doubting Thomas” at some time in his life.  But it is interesting that not many people have asked the question, “who is the other twin?

Speculation on this subject is interesting.  Some have hazarded that Judas was his twin.  Since Judas betrayed Jesus and went and hanged himself (evidently in despair), his relation to Thomas would have been suppressed.  Others have proposed that Mary Magdalene is his twin.  Mary as the first proclaimer of the Resurrection has her own difficulties in getting through to the other Apostles.  Some have even hazarded that Jesus is Thomas’ twin.  Now to catholics that is unthinkable, but not to those who take the references to the brothers and sisters of Jesus as literal.

It would seem that Thomas reaction to the death of Jesus is to go off by himself alone to deal with this loss.  But from the other information that we have from the Gospels about Thomas it would also seem that he was re-examining how he could have missed in his judgement about Jesus.  Wasn’t Jesus to be the Messiah, the restorer of the Kingdom of Israel?  How could this Jesus end up killed on a cross?  Thomas probably thought that Jesus would tie all his searching and synthesizing together.  Now Jesus has died ignominously on a cross.  It seems he needed time apart to process his throughts, to regroup.  If Thomas was an introvert he would process things alone on his insides before talking with others.  His refined observation skills had failed him.  He was re-examing past events.  He was dealing with the darkness of doubt.

Some years back in a dialogue homily I posed the question?  “Why do you think Thomas was not with the other disciples?”  A little boy of about 12, put up his hand, “because he couldn’t get off work.”  It does make you think.

When Thomas does rejoin the group (a week later) he is presented with the information that they have seen the Lord.  He thinks that this must be some kind of delusional thinking.  He must have his own personal proof, put his finger in the wounds of his hand and his hand into Jesus’ side.  I think that it must have been a tense week: the ten holding, “we have seen the Lord,” in one part of the room and in another part Thomas “I don’t believe.”

Jesus comes to Thomas.  Jesus make his approach to Thomas particular to this man.  There is nothing of the “don’t touch me” words directed to Mary Magdalene.  In fact Jesus tells Thomas, just the opposite, come and touch.

Thomas is overwhelmed and bursts forth his own profession of faith, “My Lord and My God.”  This Thomas who was not easily convinced, now was convinced. ( I find myself wondering if he did put his finger in the hand and his hand in Jesus’ side.  I’ve solicited different responses to this question and the answers are quite differing and interesting.  Particularly why people think what they think.)  Surely his faith must have enriched the others.  Thomas was one of those types who gathers lots of information (I personally identify here with Thomas), he was always perceiving and analyzing things, even things that others missed.  Doubting Thomas becomes believing Thomas and inspires the others to greater depth of belief.

Thomas seemed the least likely of the group. He appeared to question everything that happened. Even after God proved Jesus was right by raising him from the dead, Thomas had to feel the wounds.

But just because of this very defect of doubt, Thomas might have been the most effective preacher. Because the audience was even more skeptical. “A crucified carpenter, you say? Rose from the dead, you say? Starting some kind of new kingdom, you say? Hmm.” But Thomas had already worked his way through those doubts. Convinced preachers might scare people off, but people recognized Thomas as one of their own. If Thomas could believe it, so could they.

Tradition tells us that Thomas was the apostle to India.  Would this not make sense, that he who was the most difficult to convince, once convinced would have the most impulse and stamina and drive to carry the news the farthest?

Another spiritual tradition about Thomas the Twin is that you and I are the Twin. 

Has Jesus come to you in a particular way?  Have you been called to put your personality, your history, your gifts at the service of the Jesus in a particular way?  Is Jesus perhaps speaking to you today, to put some good, which has laid dormant inside you, into action for Jesus?  Can you say with Thomas, “My Lord and My God.”  “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Source of reflection: Dave Jackson