Submitted by Judith Gotwald
|Theme:||Thomas Sees Jesus' Wounds|
There is a classic television commercial that is so effective it is occasionally re-aired, although it was probably made more than 30 years ago. Maybe you've seen it. It has three freckled-faced brothers sittingat the breakfast table. The two older boys are looking skeptically at a bowl of cereal. The cereal looks plain, no bright colors or marshmallow puffs. The boys have their doubts. They are suspicious that the cereal might be healthy tasting and they don't want to be caught enjoying healthy cereal. "I'm not going to try it" the one boy says and pushes the bowl across the table to the other. "You try it." So the boys look at the youngest brother sitting boosted up in his chair. Mikey has no idea that his brothers are plotting to use him as evidence in their plan to avoid good food. “Let's get Mikey,” they say, impressed with their own brilliance. "He won't eat it! He hates everything." The older boys are hoping to avoid the possibility that tasty something different might lead to new life with different foods. But they are surprised. Mikey accepts the new food without saying a word. He just starts shoveling the cereal into his mouth. "He likes it!" the brothers cry. "Hey, Mikey!" The boys have the evidence they need. There is no need to show any more. The fifteen second commercial cuts to a picture -- updated over the years -- of boxes of Life cereal.
This story is similar to today's gospel story. Thomas is the only disciple to miss out on Jesus' visit. The disciples urge him accept the idea that Jesus is alive. But for whatever reason, Thomas resists the offer to "eat the healthy food." He wants to conduct a test before he'll dip his spoon into this cereal bowl. Thomas wants proof and looks to find a way to ease his doubts. He sets up rules. "I'll believe it when I can see his wounds." But Thomas wants more than that. He adds still another condition. He wants to touch his wounds. And then, a week later something very mysterious happens. No one knows how Jesus got into the locked room, but suddenly Jesus was there, standing before Thomas, baring His wounds for Thomas to see and feel. Thomas has enough proof without reaching to touch his wounds. It ends up that the sight of Jesus is enough. Thomas immediately accepts. He says, "My Lord and my God!" Thomas believed.
Thomas acquired deep faith. He came to faith on his own terms, but it was faith none the less. Unfortunately for Thomas, every first Sunday after Easter, we remember him for his moment of weakness. Thomas dared to doubt. He dared to ask for proof. We know from the end of this Bible story that Thomas wasn't alone. The Bible goes on to tell us that Jesus gave many other signs that are not recorded in the Bible. He gave these signs so that people might believe.
We envy people who have the kind of faith that requires no physical proof, but for many of us this will not happen. This doesn't mean that faith which asks for proof is useless. We know from historical records that Thomas goes on to become a very effective apostle. He carries the Good News to the people across Asia Minor and into India. His doubts were a stepping stone to faith.
Some of you are very young and faith is a wonderful part of being young. You have faith that your needs will be taken care of for you. God is watching over you. He gave you mothers and fathers, teachers and older brothers and sisters to watch out for you. Some of you are a bit older and coming to the age where you are asking questions and perhaps like Thomas are setting up in your minds conditions to accept answers. It's part of growing up and it's part of growing in faith.
Jesus must have known this when we blessed those who believe without seeing. But he loved Thomas just as much and he loves you too. He loves you when you believe. He loves you when you ask questions. He wants you to grow in your faith. Jesus spent a lot of time answering questions of people who were working at their faith. You are not alone when you ask questions. So don't be afraid and don't be ashamed to question. Jesus showed Thomas his wounds so that he could believe. There will be answers for you and they will help your faith growl
Now, are there any questions?
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