|Carry His Love |
|Slow down as you make the Sign of the Cross. Intentionally purify your mind and your heart, and ask God to strengthen you to carry his love to the world.|
St. Thomas the Apostle
Poor Thomas! He made one remark and has been branded as "Doubting Thomas" ever since. But if he doubted, he also believed. He made what is certainly the most explicit statement of faith in the New Testament: "My Lord and My God!" (see John 20:24-28) and, in so expressing his faith, gave Christians a prayer that will be said till the end of time. He also occasioned a compliment from Jesus to all later Christians: "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed" (John 20:29).
Thomas should be equally well known for his courage. Perhaps what he said was impetuous—since he ran, like the rest, at the showdown—but he can scarcely have been insincere when he expressed his willingness to die with Jesus. The occasion was when Jesus proposed to go to Bethany after Lazarus had died. Since Bethany was near Jerusalem, this meant walking into the very midst of his enemies and to almost certain death. Realizing this, Thomas said to the other apostles, "Let us also go to die with him" (John 11:16b).
"...rompted by the Holy Spirit, the Church must walk the same road which Christ walked: a road of poverty and obedience, of service and self-sacrifice to the death.... For thus did all the apostles walk in hope. On behalf of Christ's Body, which is the Church, they supplied what was wanting in the sufferings of Christ by their own trials and sufferings (see Colossians 1:24)" (Vatican II, Decree on the Church's Missionary Activity, 5).
Daily Prayer - 2015-07-03
What is present to me is what has a hold on my becoming.
I reflect on the Presence of God always there in love,
amidst the many things that have a hold on me.
I pause and pray that I may let God
affect my becoming in this precise moment.
It is so easy to get caught up
with the trappings of wealth in this life.
Grant, O Lord, that I may be free
from greed and selfishness.
Remind me that the best things in life are free.
Love, laughter, caring and sharing.
I remind myself that I am in the presence of the Lord. I will take refuge in His loving heart. He is my strength in times of weakness. He is my comforter in times of sorrow.
The Word of God
Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle
Brothers and sisters:
You are no longer strangers and sojourners,
but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones
and members of the household of God,
built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets,
with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.
Through him the whole structure is held together
and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;
in him you also are being built together
into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
For steadfast is his kindness for us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord;
blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord."
But Thomas said to them,
"Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."
Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you."
Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe."
Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
- Thomas refused to believe in the resurrection until he saw the risen Lord for himself. When he does encounter Jesus and puts his hands in the holes the nails made, and in his side, his doubts disappear and he makes the profound act of faith 'My Lord and my God!'
- As the case of Thomas illustrates, even the disciples sometimes had doubts. Jesus meets us wherever we are on life's journey. He knows that in our walk of faith we face many challenges. I pray Lord, that when I encounter trials in my life, I still have the courage to proclaim my act of faith in you.
How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold? Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way? I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me, I turn and share my feelings with him.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
world without end.
Meditation: Ephesians 2:19-22
Saint Thomas, Apostle (Feast)
You are ... members of the household of God. (Ephesians 2:19)
We all have certain places or institutions that have a special place in our lives. Perhaps it's our hometown, our school sports team, or a political party. But these loyalties tend to pale in comparison to the loyalty we feel toward our family and close friends. So when Paul tells us that we have become "members of the household of God," part of God's own family, it means a lot (Ephesians 2:19)!
Consider the apostle Thomas' struggle with this new identity. He loved the Lord, and surely he longed for the reports of Jesus' resurrection to be true, but he still couldn't overcome the limitations of what his own human reason told him. So Jesus met Thomas where he was and brought him to belief. But notice what he says, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed" (John 20:29). Blessed, in other words, are those whose loyalty to Jesus helps them move beyond their own limitations and reach out in faith instead.
It's interesting. Committing our highest loyalties to Jesus actually helps us in all our other commitments. When we put our faith in him, we find new wisdom for raising our children and loving our spouse. Living for Christ opens us to the Holy Spirit, who can empower us to make a good contribution at work even as our peace witnesses to the joy of the gospel. Human logic and reason can offer us some insights in these areas, but imagine how much more we can receive when we are connected to the Lord!
Do you find yourself sounding like Thomas occasionally? "As soon as God proves such and such to me, I'll be willing to do so-and-so." Jesus will work with us at those times, as he did with Thomas, but he wants us to move beyond setting conditions. He wants our identity as members of his household to loom larger than anything else so that it can guide everything we do and say. He wants to be our shepherd and our friend so that as we surrender to him, we can hear him tell us, "Peace be with you" (John 20:26).
"Lord, thank you that you have brought me into your family."
So we have been ranting and lamenting the laws against humanity lately. Why? Why do we cry? Do we doubt? I want you to read the first scripture line we read today, and think of the Holy Catholic Church, which its faith is based on the Apostles and their foundation...Jesus Christ our Lord, our King:
"Brothers and sisters: (Notice: This is how they approached Jesus "your brothers and sisters are waiting"-doesn't mean he had blood brothers and sisters from Mary, much less that they followed Him for ""A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house." as we will read in Sunday's Gospel)
You are no longer strangers and sojourners,
but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones (Notice: He calls you brothers and sisters, even friends, and He will lay down His life for His friend, and notice, that we are "fellow" citizens, we believe that death does not separate us. This is why I will forever trust in the Catholic faith to pray for me, even when I am dead from this world, therefore we celebrate a Holy Mass with loved ones and angels that are in Heaven, and pray for those not there yet)
and members of the household of God, (Notice: members of the household are trusted and loved and taken care of, sharing, feeding from the same table)
built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, (Notice: this is our Catholic faith, the foundation is the Apostles, and to cap it off, everything our faith is based...JESUS HIMSELF!)
with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone." (The foundation and the temple being built up for Christ is still building, are you in?)
We are citizens of a nation that is not on earth. That is why I argued with the choir this week about the last song choice; they wanted to sing as the last "Sending Forth" song of the Holy Mass "God Bless the USA". It got under my skin, because we are not solely citizens of the USA, but citizens first of a Heavenly realm, if we are true Christians. If we are true Christians then our first loyalty is to God. So let us sing to God, bless God, all I wanted was a truly Catholic song, one that focuses beyond our local surroundings, to which I have been accused of being a "one world guy"....lol, yeah, ONE KINGDOM!! This is why many saints like St. Thomas More and so many more got killed...for their faith! For loyalty to CHRIST. Because God came first before country. Boy, I had to catch alot of heat about it. There were no hard feelings but I'm still afraid they don't understand where I was coming from...God first, before family, before country, before ANYTHING and ANYONE. Only then will you be able to bless America, only then will you be able to truly bless your family, because you want not just their happiness, but HEAVEN for them. Trust me, I operate on pain, "a thorn in my flesh", much like we will read about in Sunday's Gospel with St. Paul's reading. Let me only boast about my weakness for Christ.
The Psalms pray on, "Go out to all the world and tell the Good News". This is a command. This is not just some fluffy nice line to read and forget. These are the very words that came out of our Lord before He ascended into Heaven. Baptize ALL. Know any people good at sinning!? REACH OUT TO THEM. TOo often we just hush. Oh sure the world is good at hushing Christians, but how come good Christians can't hush out evil? Because we need strength. Why don't you put out evil in your own life? That's where the world starts. It is a big deal then because it has everything to do with you, and with the fact if you do or do not tell the world the Good News!
So what is the Good News? Today's Holy Gospel shares it again. Jesus. St. Thomas the Apostle said he wouldn't believe until he seen for himself. Ahh! Aren't we all like that? We just have to see to believe? I believe there are large Octupus in the ocean, probably because of pictures, but do I believe in Sasquatch, the Bigfoot? There is doubt. Do I believe in aliens? There is doubt. And so, we have the reasoning behind an atheist. The very reasons to attack the Holy Church. Doubt. So what is the Good News? And how can we believe? Well, to believe...you just have to believe. Well that don't help, does it? Jesus appears to doubting St. Thomas "Peace be with you...come bring your hand and put it in my side". How would you feel at this moment? I know I would've been like "I shouldn't have said nothing", like a regret. This is the exact feeling I get when I complain about a ministry and then I'm not doing it anymore, then I miss it..."I shouldn't have said nothing". But it served for the greater good. This is how God works, always for the greater good...do you believe? Let me tell you something today, if today you find yourself doubting God, then ask the apostle that is not dead and is in Heaven, ask St. Thomas for help and prayer in believing. Do not be amazed if your faith is completely shaken.
Do not be amazed if you find yourself totally in love with God.
Do not be amazed if one day you say like St. Thomas "let us go die with our Lord".
Do not be amazed if our Lord brings peace into your life, even if it costs your life.
Do not be amazed if you find yourself believing without seeing.
Do not be amazed if you keep loving and serving love without seeing any results.
Do not be amazed if one day you find yourself encouraging other doubters, giving Reasons To Believe.
Do not be amazed if after all this...you yourself are allowed to come to Jesus and He asks for your hand
Do not be amazed if after you give your hand, He takes it
Do not be amazed if after He takes your hand you reach inside His side...and feel His heart
Do not be amazed if you feel His heart beating and it melts your heart and you become someone else, transformed
Do not be amazed if this is already starting to happen while we live as earthly creations on earth...as it shall come to be
Do not be amazed at people's lack of faith, for Jesus was amazed in the Gospel
Do not be amazed at seeing their lack of faith you see your faith and where it stands with God
I pray for you. Pray for me.
Let us amaze God, not for our lack of faith, but our strong faith, our strong love for Him above all!