Ask and Seek in Faith

04-11-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

On the days these past two weeks when the sun was gloriously shining and the air had a gentle warmth to it, it become quite easy to believe in the goodness of life and also in our faith in the Resurrection of Jesus. Yet on other days when something horrible or evil has happened such as shootings, the spewing of racial or anti-immigrant hate, or other despicable acts, it becomes hard to believe in the goodness of life. This also happens when a child is seriously ill or someone dies tragically in a car accident. We ask: How can these things happen? How can this God who has so loved us, who sent His Only Begotten Son to die on the cross and rise from the dead allow all these terrible things to happen? How can we believe in resurrection with all these various types of "deaths" around us?

Our faith in the Resurrection of Jesus demands such belief. Resurrection faith points out to us that life comes out of death. It is in the passage from death to life that we encounter the risen Lord. Are you aware that the sign of Easter is not the lovely lily flower but rather the empty tomb? This is in fact the most powerful sign of life for us.

Our writer Luke in our first passage of today portrays in words a picture of the earliest believers. Note how he says that these earliest believers were of one mind and one heart. Luke intends us to know that a sign of the Resurrection is unity in life. Our second passage, which is written by St. John, clearly tells us that we are indeed children of God, united in faith, and part of one, unified family in Christ risen from death. John points us to us that our faith in Christ entails accepting and living God's commandments. Know that our belief gives us a share in the victory of Christ, which has been achieved by virtue of his death and resurrection. John boldly tells us that our faith is ever powerful because we have received the Spirit, who will never deceive or fail us, for indeed "the Spirit is truth."

Our Gospel is about one of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus to the apostles and also includes the story of "doubting Thomas". As an aside, scripture scholars say that this chapter of John contains his very last written words. This final passage is attempting to deliver the message that Jesus is with them, not in the flesh, but truly with them in a different manner and way. John is telling the post-resurrection community (and that also includes everyone down through the centuries to us today) that we need to have a broader or wider faith. The Gospel concludes with John telling us that he has carefully chosen the "signs" he has written down for us and that there are in fact many more. John tells us to watch carefully for the signs of resurrection in our own lives. We are to know that Jesus Christ is present in them.

We can conclude from today's scripture that the risen Lord whom Thomas demanded to behold and examine is the only Lord worth believing in. John wants us to have a belief which will be with us in the good times and also sustain us in the bad times. It is okay to doubt as Thomas did, but it is also necessary to ask and seek as Thomas did to find the answers. When we do, the questions suggested at the beginning of this reflection can be answered with a strong sense of faith.