Sunday, the second Sunday of Easter, was Divine Mercy Sunday and there are several things I could talk about—heck, I might get three blogs out of this one day. Heck, I can get two out of the gospel reading!!
The gospel reading is from the Gospel according to John and describes a period after the resurrection. The remaining disciples are hiding in the upper room when Jesus comes and visits them. Thomas though—isn’t there. I just thought of something---Where WAS Thomas??. It doesn’t say. What does he have to do?? It must have been for something pretty important, right? Had he been hiding with relatives?? Had he even heard about the resurrection at all?? About the empty tomb?? Someone find out for me and get back to me would you?
Anyway, he comes to the upper room and the disciples are excited. They’d seen the risen Lord!! And Thomas, understandably, didn’t believe them. Thomas says-- and I as someone who has made a sarcastic comment can appreciate the comment, “No, no, no, no---you aren’t going get me on this one. Unless I see it for myself, I ain’t going to believe it. (they were from Galilee—he probably said “ain’t”)” Ohh, but better yet, Mr. Smartypants keeps going on. “Unless I poke my finger in his nail marks and my hand into his side---I WILL NOT believe it.” You wonder how long the conversation went on?? Overnight?? A day or two??
The gospel tells us a week later, they were locked in the room when Jesus appeared. (another query---where was Jesus for the last week?) Jesus appears to the eleven---Thomas is here this time and Jesus, no stranger to the sarcastic comment himself tells Thomas—“go ahead!! Put your finger here in my hands and put your hands in my side.” He goes on, “do not be unbelieving but believe.”
Thomas is smart enough to know he was wrong—and it goes on—he realizes what Jesus’ resurrection means as he says, “My Lord and My God!” Think about it, not even any of the other disciples have recognized that Jesus as God. A pretty big revelation, huh?
Jesus kind of rebukes Thomas by saying, “You see and you believe?? Blessed are those who have not seen and believed.”
I find it interesting because we kind of think Thomas was a fool don’t we? “heh heh heh—Thomas didn’t believe and had to eat crow!!” We tell people not to be a “Doubting Thomas.” But who are we to mock Thomas?? Aren’t we all “Doubting Thomaseseses (how DO you spell that?) Don’t we all have doubts?? After all if we had the faith that we think we do would we act like we do?? Would we do half the stuff we do?? Who are we to say that we don’t have doubts about our faith occasionally?? Heck—even Blessed Mother Theresa talks in her memoirs about having doubts in her faith.
But here is the important part---what’s important is what we do with those doubts. I heard a neat comparison the other day on the radio so let me see if I can get it right. A pearl is formed when an irritant, a piece of sand for example, gets into an oyster. The pearl forms around the irritant in order to protect the oyster (until of course someone cuts open the oyster to get to the pearl—but that ruins the comparison so don’t think about that) If you think of our spiritual life as an oyster and our doubts as that irritant just think about the pearl that can be formed by that doubt—by that irritant. It’s not easy, you ARE dealing with an irritant, but through prayer and maybe some self denial, our faith can become more wonderful—more beautiful.