Few people know this, but Doubting Thomas was one of the original subscribers to the award winning online magazine ROB IS RIGHT. I “get” Doubting Thomas, we are much alike. I am a creature of Aristotelean logic. I am not swayed by what others think or believe without evidence and the use of logical deduction to reach a reasoned conclusion. So in today’s liturgy, John 20-19-31, Jesus throws a bit of shade on Thomas by saying “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Mmmm…… so like all matters in the bible, I have to take a personal approach and reconcile Jesus’ words with my own history and experiences. So if you will indulge me, the following are my thoughts……
First, I believe the whole Gospel story. The Resurrection is real. My parents were very loving. I never felt unloved growing up. My father never went a day with out telling me he loved me in a warm, heartfelt way. He often worked late, but he would always come in my bedroom at night and tell me my prayers. When he told me my prayers, I felt a different kind of love, a warm, protecting embrace from a divine source. I never questioned the existence of God.
Then one gets older. How can one possibly believe that a man walked on water, raised the dead and then was raised from the dead himself? Moreover, do so many believe in this “fairy tale” because it is simply human nature to want to believe the things that are best for us, as opposed to the cold hard truth that this story is all fable to make use feel good about ourselves? How can one not have doubts about the story?
Well, I never not believed, but I have been very curious, very analytical and very diligent in understanding Jesus’ teachings, Judaism, the 1st Century world, the Council of Nicaea and his ministry throughout the millennia. I have read the entire bible more than once and have been in countless bible studies and theological discussions. After all, the reality, indeed the veracity of Jesus is the greatest issue of the ages. My left brain has sifted through all the data, and I believe the entire story, and despite being an imperfect and a woeful sinner, that the tenets of our faith represent “truth.”
So how do I reconcile this with what Jesus said to Thomas? Was I not supposed to put in so much study and just believe with no questions? No, I don’t think so. We are made in the image of God and rational thinking is a manifestation of natural law.
Here is what I think. I go back to Pop telling me prayers. That extraordinary embrace of love I felt was the Holy Spirit. I think Jesus’ words to Thomas are a proclamation to us all, you can TRUST that feeling, that feeling is as real as it seems, it is I, Jesus along with my father, I am TRUTH. You don’t have to feel my pierced side and or my nail holes, I am with you.
I admit, I might have been slower to believe, but for having the Spirit come upon me as a little boy. What do I make of that? Here’s what….. I am extraordinarily lucky to have loving parents. The Holy Spirit is knocking on all of our hearts. Will we open up and let him in? I was very fortunate being surrounded by so much love; I think I had an open heart and could receive. Others aren’t so lucky. I feel bad for them. I want them to feel the same JOY. So what am I to do. Well Dear Watson, it seems rather elementary: LOVE OTHERS. We are to LOVE OTHERS. Now, we all know that loving others is Part 2 of the Greatest Commandment, so it’s not like I just discovered electricity or nuclear fusion, but I have had a mini-epiphany this morning. I have long believed our most forthright mission is to love others. But…… Perhaps “to love others” is more than just some Haight-Ashbury feel good platitude. Sure it feels all good and nice, but perhaps we are commanded to love others because it opens up hearts to the Holy Spirit? Now that I have thought through this, I am quite sure that is the reason.
I now feel such a warm glow in my heart that I think I will go through the entire day without tripping any old ladies or cussing out any children. Peace out.