What a wonderful greeting! Isn’t peace something we all long for in our daily lives? We can hardly turn on the news without something to be concerned about—politics, church issues, global warming. And what about the personal conflicts between friends and family?
In today’s gospel, we hear about Thomas, often known as “doubting Thomas” - the apostle who felt the need for physical proof that Jesus was risen. For most of my life I thought he must not have had as much faith as the other disciples. But as I think of his story this year, I wonder what might have caused him to ‘doubt’. What if it was a wounded heart? What if Jesus’ death had left him so broken-hearted he felt he couldn’t take any more pain without totally breaking down? Could it have been his way of protecting himself?
Think about a time when you have lost someone or something that cut you to the core? Perhaps it was a broken relationship or, like the case of Thomas, the death of a loved one. Losing a loved one to death or to lack of forgiveness leaves a hole not only in one’s heart, but in one’s spirit. Sometimes it takes time to feel strong enough to take the risk of opening oneself to the possibility of further pain. We know, however, without risking that pain, there is no possibility belief in forgiveness and new life. When Jesus appeared a week later to Thomas and the disciples, he didn't shame Thomas. He greeted him again, saying “Peace be with you.” Thomas’ story reminds us we cannot earn God’s love. It is gift. And like any gift, we need to be ready to accept it. Then we believe in the promise of new life. Then we can feel the heartache replaced by Easter joy!
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC