Living the Gospel – April 19, 2020

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Have you ever had a conversation with someone and their words sound impressive, but as you think of the actions of their past, their words don’t ring true?

Have you ever attended a meeting and the speaker proposed an approach to a situation that sounds impressive, but you truly wonder if it is reasonable?

I think this is what Thomas encountered when he returned to the room where the disciples were gathered. They claimed they were in a locked room because they were afraid of the Jews and that while they were there Jesus appeared to them. Thomas did not believe them…but why? It seems to me that Thomas had spent time with these disciples and knew them quite well. In his defense…perhaps he wondered ‘if Jesus had appeared to them why had their ‘rejoicing’ ended so soon, why weren’t they more excited and why were they still there a week later and still had the door locked? Shouldn’t they have been full of peace and trust and not needed to lock the door….after all Jesus had said to them, “Peace be with you” and “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive have forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

It seems to me that Thomas doubted the words and actions of the disciples…not the words of Jesus. When he encountered Jesus he recognized him and said, “My Lord and my God.” The Gospel account does not tell us if Thomas actually touched the wounds….but by encountering Jesus himself, Thomas believed. It seems Thomas never doubted God, he doubted the disciples.

Is it the same with us? Can we listen to others speak of God….his goodness, his miracles, his love… and although we don’t outright reject it…do we truly embrace it to the point that it impacts our daily actions? Is it only when we open ourselves to God’s presence (his grace) that we can believe? Is it that we need the personal encounter with God in prayer, that we can become truly aware of and believe in God? Can we ‘unlock’ our hearts enough to become aware of God within us? Is the real message in this Gospel passage, that we must have a personal relationship with God…and not just listen to others.. Just wondering…..

Perhaps during this time of social isolation due to COVID19, we could spend more time ‘going within’ and asking for the grace to receive the Holy Spirit, to increase our faith and then to let our actions flow from our encounter with God.

Peg Orzel