Living the Gospel – July 8, 2018

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Blessed are they whose hearts do not become hardened during times of trial and who do not allow familiarity to prevent greater discovery.

Today we read that Jesus could not do many miracles within his home area because ‘nothing nurtures unfamiliarity like familiarity’, and this past week the readings of the Church related that St. Thomas had a crisis of faith because of trial.

So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hand and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I WILL NOT believe.”

Had not SAINT Thomas walked with Jesus for three intimate years as well as seen the miracles and heard the words so much so that the apostle, John, supposed that if everything had been written down, the world could not contain the things that Jesus did? (John 21:25); nevertheless, Jesus responded to Thomas’ refusal to believe with a mild rebuke and said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” In other words, ‘Thomas, believe what you know and have been told. Don’t let your sight and the sadness it brings harden your heart.’ What about all that has gone before, all that “which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—?“ 1 John 1:1. ‘Where is your faith?’ Jesus’ response to Thomas was not encouragement to blindly believe nor one of accusation and condemnation for his refusal to believe all he has knowingly and reasonably received but of mercy and grace allowing Thomas to touch and see once again.

Jesus is not affirming imprudent, unsubstantiated, blind faith, but appealing to a sure word of prophecy sustained by the virtues of faith, hope, and love. All that Jesus does and says are not ends in themselves but are leading way beyond what is seen and past the miraculous so that we as well as St. Thomas can have life and have it more abundantly.

Don Alexy