Speak Lord: Love awakens love

DSC01713 THomas.jpg
In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.’

After saying this he breathed on them and said: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.’

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him: ‘You believe because you can see me. Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’

There were many other signs that Jesus worked and the disciples saw, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.

Gospel for 2nd Sunday of Easter
John 20:19-31

Belief founded on faith and belief founded on proof are similar but not the same. Belief founded on proof is as firm as the proof.

Belief founded on faith is as firm as is the lived relationship with the other. It is often sustained in the absence of proof, but not of evidence.

Thomas refuses to believe until he has some evidence that the Lord is risen, but his relationship fed by Jesus coming to him. But his faith in Jesus exceeds that which is ‘proven’ about Jesus: Thomas confesses Jesus not only as risen, but confesses him as Lord and God.

Is it not so also in our case. We surely can point to evidence for our belief in God and in Jesus and in the Church, but (for the most part!) our faith exceeds the proof: it is most firmly founded on the quality of our lived relationship with God and neighbour. The more firmly we commit to God – Father, Son and Spirit – and to neighbour, and live the covenant of love the more firm our faith.

Relief Carving. Notre Dame, Paris. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Call us to faith…

St Thomas

The Gospel for the Second Sunday of Easter comes from the Gospel of John. It reminds of the challenge of coming to belief in the Resurrection

In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.

‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’

After saying this he breathed on them and said:

‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him:

‘You believe because you can see me.
Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’

There were many other signs that Jesus worked and the disciples saw, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.

John 20:19-31

We may feel superior to Thomas, having inherited a sense for the rightness of the Resurrection as part of how the world is. Yet it evidently is not how the world is, except when God wills it!

Belief in the Resurrection is in the fact of the Resurrection, not in an idea or a (false) myth. But it is surely no easy thing to hold to in face of the evidence.

  • Pray for those who struggle with the witness of the Church.
  • Pray in gratitude for the faith you have.

Statue of St Thomas, St John Lateran,, Rome. (c) 2016, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Of faith and love…

Paschal Mystery

The Gospel of the 2nd Sunday of Easter, ‘Divine Mercy’ Sunday, comes from the Gospel of John. There is a coda to the Gospel now, but perhaps originally the Gospel ended with this passage.

In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.
‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’
After saying this he breathed on them and said:
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’

Jesus said to him:
‘You believe because you can see me.
Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’

There were many other signs that Jesus worked and the disciples saw, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.
John 20:19-31

Throughout the Gospels the miracles of Jesus loom large – but often there is a reminder that to believe in the miracles was not necessarily to believe in Jesus, and that to believe in Jesus does not necessarily rely on being able to see.

Perhaps what is most remarkable about Thomas is not his seeing and handling the Risen Jesus, but his response, his extraordinary confession of faith – ‘My Lord and my God.’

Thomas’ experience confirms the truth of the Resurrection and makes explicit for the first time the Church’s faith in the divinity of Jesus.

  • What difference does the divinity of Jesus make to your faith in God and to your life?
  • How does it effect your relationship with people of other faiths or none.

Photograph of ivory panels in British Museum. (C) 2007, Allen Morris