The readings today focus on two major themes: our likeness and commonalities with each other and faith in the unseen. The gospel story of “Doubting Thomas” is one that we have heard over and again although I would like to take a little different twist on what it means to believe without seeing.
As I read the opening reading, I was struck with the emphasis on all of us as global citizens – brothers and sisters – “fellow citizens . . . and members of the household of God.” It reminded me of how much Jesus and our beliefs in Him as followers keep us united. Sometimes we forget how similar we are, even if we practice that Christian belief differently. Too often, we spend our time and energies focusing on the differences instead of the similarities. Having recently returned from two-weeks of training with the Army Reserves, I was concerned that I would not have opportunity to worship on Sunday. In the midst of an intense training exercise, I knew the chances of finding a Catholic service were limited. The Chaplain supporting the largest unit in the exercise was there and very supportive of all the soldiers. He assured us that there was a non-denominational Christian service in both the morning and the evening. He had even brought his guitar and carefully wrote out the words to the songs on butcher-block paper. It was clear to me looking at the faces of the soldiers partaking in the service, that our similarities coupled with our need for Christ in our lives was a very powerful force. Our differences seemed minimal – our faith was binding. There is a quote from Romans (1:11-12) that states “I long to see you so that . . . you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” I believe that is our charge from the first reading to encourage each other in living a faith-filled life. To be “built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
Once we recognize that we are in this together, as the second reading states, we are responsible for spreading that good news. It does not require preaching. We just have to live our lives so it is obvious to all around that we are in the path of the Lord. Easier said then done but at least we can try everyday. Each day is a new opportunity to live in the face of the Lord – to be open to the Grace we are given. It is by Grace that we are saved. Obviously, when people comment that someone “got what they deserved,” it is short sighted. If we all got what we deserved we would not dwell in the house of the Lord in eternity. It is by Grace alone – no matter how we live – that we will enter into that dwelling.
“Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” . . . I will propose that it is impossible not to see. My evidence is all around you. I have spent the last day wandering through my yards catching up on watering and seeing what my flowers did when I was gone. I had to stop at every grouping, tell them how beautiful they were, and then to say, “Thank you, God, thank you God, thank you, God.” How can I have any doubts when I look at this world? I only have to look at the faces of my grandchildren, to know there is a God who loves us and holds us in His arms always. As the song goes, Have you seen Jesus, my Lord – he’s right here in plain view. . .
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