The Sunday Message that forms part of our Parish Newsletter is also available online each week. Click to view:
Sunday Message 23rd April 2017
seeing your life through the lens of the gospels – John 20:19-31
1. ‘Peace be with you’ was the greeting of Jesus on meeting his frightened apostles. Who has come to you bringing peace at times when you were frightened? For whom have you been an agent of peace?
2. Thomas, doubting and questioning, is possibly a person with whom we can identify. What part have doubting and questioning played on your faith journey? How has your faith been strengthened by such moments?
3. Note the way Jesus dealt with Thomas. He did not give out because he doubted. He took him where he was and led him along to see the truth of his resurrection. Who has been that kind of a teacher for you, gently taking you where you were and leading you on to a deeper knowledge of some truth about life? For whom have you been that kind of teacher?
4. ‘Blessed are they who have not seen and yet believed.’ That requires great trust. Perhaps you have had the experience of being trusted without having had to prove every step along the way. What was it like to be trusted in that way? Whom have you been able to trust in a similar manner? – John Byrne OSA
Jesus reveals himself with his wounds: his whole body was clean, beautiful and full of light but the wounds were and are still there, and when the Lord comes at the end of the world, we will see his wounds. Before he could believe, Thomas wanted to place his fingers in the wounds. He was stubborn. But that was what the Lord wanted – a stubborn person to make us understand something greater. (Pope Francis)
‘We do not know … how can we know the way?’
Courageous master of the awkward question,
You spoke the words the others dared not say
And cut through their evasion and abstraction.
O doubting Thomas, father of my faith,
You put your finger on the nub of things:
We cannot love some disembodied wraith,
But flesh and blood must be our king of kings.
Your teaching is to touch, embrace, anoint,
Feel after him and find him in the flesh.
Because he loved your awkward counterpoint,
The Word has heard and granted you your wish.
O place my hand with yours, help me divine
The wounded God whose wounds are healing mine.
– Malcolm Guite (From Sounding the Seasons – Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year, Canterbury Press)
The Deep End
The disciples in today’s Gospel must have been so excited to tell Thomas their news: ‘We have seen the Lord’. Sometimes, when we try to share something of our faith experience with others, we can meet similar responses – doubting, cynicism – we can even be made fun of. The Risen Jesus bears the wounds of his suffering and even invites Thomas to touch them, to get in touch with the reality of his suffering.
We might recall times when we have been overwhelmed by pain but looking back on those times we can see that they sometimes brought us to a different place, to new life. Perhaps today recall those times of ‘wounded-ness’ – and hear Jesus’s ‘Peace be with you’, the promise that he is with you. The word ‘Peace’ (Shalom) is more than a wish for a good evening or peaceful day. It expresses the desire that the person receiving the blessing might be whole in body, mind and spirit.
The Risen Jesus brings a peace that is life-giving. The disciples were locked away, afraid, closed off from the world. When Jesus is present with them, their hearts are opened again, they rejoice. The Risen Jesus in today’s Gospel moves the disciples from total fear and despair to ‘rejoicing’. The same Risen Jesus is active in all our lives and in the world around us. ‘Life will always prevail, through all the layers of death in which we try to contain it.’ (Margaret Silf) – Jane Mellett, Pastoral Worker, Dublin Diocese