Saint Thomas, Beyond Doubt
Traditionally, he is called "Doubting Thomas." Yet doubt is a wound that each of us shares. It is not necessarily a fatal wound, nor is it a flat-out rejection of our faith. I can picture myself that evening having a similar doubt. Maybe you can as well. We certainly have experienced doubt in our efforts to explain the faith to others. Sometimes we are rejected. More often, we have to unveil the beauty of our faith over time and with utmost patience.
God did not abandon Thomas in his doubt, nor does he abandon us. Our God, after all, is full of compassion and patience. Doubt is a wound we all share. It is a wound that God longs to heal with his divine mercy.
–from the book Meeting God in the Upper Room
✞ "We must pray literally without ceasing— without ceasing—in every occurrence and employment of our lives . . . that prayer of the heart which is independent of place or situation, or which is rather a habit of lifting up the heart to God as in a constant communication with Him."
— St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY
"I pray that you will understand the words of Jesus, 'Love one another as I have loved you.' Ask yourself, 'How has he loved me? Do I really love others in the same way?' Unless this love is among us, we can kill ourselves with work and it will only be work, not love. Work without love is slavery."
— Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, p. 99
AN EXCERPT FROM
Thirsting for God
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
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BLESSED PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (1901-1925) was born in Turin, Italy, to a wealthy and prominent family. He was a vibrant, joyful, and athletic youth with an adventurous spirit and a strong zest for life. He loved mountain climbing, the theater, opera, and literature. He also had a deep spiritual life and a strong devotion to the Holy Eucharist and the Virgin Mary, even while his piety provoked criticism from his parents. He challenged his friends to a life of virtue, leading them in spiritual exercises such as daily Mass and the rosary. He joined the St. Vincent de Paul Society in 1918 and became a Lay Dominican in 1922. He was also politically active in resisting fascism and communism; he took part in public demonstrations and joined religious-political organizations such as the Catholic Students Federation and Catholic Action. He also spent much time caring for the sick and poor to a heroic degree, yet his parents punished him when they caught him giving away his money and possessions. While ministering to the sick he contracted polio and died just six days later at the age of 24. His family, thinking he suffered from a mild sickness, did not realize the seriousness of his condition until it was too late. At his funeral his parents were shocked to find thousands of the city's poor, whom their son had helped in some way, arrive to pay their respects. Pope St. John Paul II called Pier Giorgio Frassati a "man of the beatitudes" at his beatification in 1990. His feast day is July 4th.
Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Gn 19:15-29
As dawn was breaking, the angels urged Lot on, saying, "On your way!
Take with you your wife and your two daughters who are here,
or you will be swept away in the punishment of Sodom."
When he hesitated, the men, by the LORD's mercy,
seized his hand and the hands of his wife and his two daughters
and led them to safety outside the city.
As soon as they had been brought outside, he was told:
"Flee for your life!
Don't look back or stop anywhere on the Plain.
Get off to the hills at once, or you will be swept away."
"Oh, no, my lord!" Lot replied,
"You have already thought enough of your servant
to do me the great kindness of intervening to save my life.
But I cannot flee to the hills to keep the disaster from overtaking me,
and so I shall die.
Look, this town ahead is near enough to escape to.
It's only a small place.
Let me flee there–it's a small place, is it not?–
that my life may be saved."
"Well, then," he replied,
"I will also grant you the favor you now ask.
I will not overthrow the town you speak of.
Hurry, escape there!
I cannot do anything until you arrive there."
That is why the town is called Zoar.
The sun was just rising over the earth as Lot arrived in Zoar;
at the same time the LORD rained down sulphurous fire
upon Sodom and Gomorrah
from the LORD out of heaven.
He overthrew those cities and the whole Plain,
together with the inhabitants of the cities
and the produce of the soil.
But Lot's wife looked back, and she was turned into a pillar of salt.
Early the next morning Abraham went to the place
where he had stood in the LORD's presence.
As he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah
and the whole region of the Plain,
he saw dense smoke over the land rising like fumes from a furnace.
Thus it came to pass: when God destroyed the Cities of the Plain,
he was mindful of Abraham by sending Lot away from the upheaval
by which God overthrew the cities where Lot had been living.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 26:2-3, 9-10, 11-12
R. (3a) O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.
Search me, O LORD, and try me;
test my soul and my heart.
For your mercy is before my eyes,
and I walk in your truth.
R. O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.
Gather not my soul with those of sinners,
nor with men of blood my life.
On their hands are crimes,
and their right hands are full of bribes.
R. O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.
But I walk in integrity;
redeem me, and have mercy on me.
My foot stands on level ground;
in the assemblies I will bless the LORD.
R. O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.
Alleluia Ps 130:5
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 8:23-27
As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him.
Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea,
so that the boat was being swamped by waves;
but he was asleep.
They came and woke him, saying,
"Lord, save us! We are perishing!"
He said to them, "Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?"
Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was great calm.
The men were amazed and said, "What sort of man is this,
whom even the winds and the sea obey?"
Meditation: Matthew 8:23-27
Independence Day (USA)
What sort of man is this? (Matthew 8:27)
You aren't usually involved in what's going on around you when you're fast asleep. You don't respond to questions, solve problems, or do physical activities—like bail out a boat. So it makes sense that the disciples thought Jesus was off duty and unaware of the tempest bearing down on them. What they found out, though, is that Jesus never stops being in control, even when he is asleep. It turned out that sleeping Jesus was still sovereign Jesus.
The disciples hadn't yet grasped that Jesus was Lord and God when they were caught up in the storm. But they received two insights that night: they saw that Jesus was always concerned for their well-being—even when he appeared to be dozing. And they learned that his power extended over the forces of nature.
After he calmed the storm, Jesus asked the disciples, "Why are you terrified?" (Matthew 8:26). In light of the power he had just shown them, his question makes sense. There was a lot more to Jesus than they knew, and they had just seen another glimpse of it. He showed them that they could trust him, that he could take care of them no matter what their situation.
There is nothing Jesus can't handle! His authority extends over angels, demons, the universe—and over human hearts, minds, and souls. This Jesus, who is Lord and God, cares for us. He cares for you. At times you may feel like Jesus is asleep in the boat. You may feel alone, without guidance or help. In difficult times like these, try to remember that Jesus is still Lord.
Here's an idea for the next time you feel overwhelmed: try to stop and pray the Creed. Let this ancient prayer remind you about who Jesus is. Let it help you recall that he is "God from God, Light from Light," and "seated at the right hand of the Father"—even if you don't see him. Let it remind you that "for our salvation he came down from heaven," and "for our sake he was crucified." These are the stable, solid truths you can stand on when you're in the middle of a storm. Always remember: sleeping Jesus is still sovereign Jesus.
"Jesus, I proclaim that you are Lord! Help me to trust in you."
Psalm 26:2-3, 9-12
The angel told Lot "Don't look back or stop anywhere on the Plain". What happens when you look back? What happens when you live in the past of doom and gloom? Why would you even be tempted? The haunting voices call, don't they? That apple of disobedience looks at you and your reflection shines in the apple. Deceiving voices call, don't they? Listen to the angel, and angel means "messenger" and this is a messenger of God. Listen to Him, be on your way as He directs. Trust in Him. No? Trust the messenger. No? Be on your way as He directs. No?
We pray today " O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes. Search me, O LORD, and try me; test my soul and my heart." It is a weird thing to hear this: "If you are going through tests, it is because God loves you". Some people might complain and joke "well, I wish He wouldn't love me so much then!". For some, it takes much to open their eyes to Him. For some, it takes a storm. For some, once the storm is over, they forget and go back to debauchery, a life turned against the Lord. This is the kind of place Lot lived in, a seemingly wealthy and luxurious place to live, full of all things to satisfy the earthly desires of the flesh. Lot was told to get out of there...or else all hell would be unveiled. It is a calling to all of us to this day.
And so we find our Lord, seemingly asleep in the rocking boat of impending disaster, and they yell at the Lord in frantic desperation " "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" someone said "do you not care that we are dying!!?" Turns out that the name "JESUS" means "He Who Saves". Turning to that name, to the Person of God, meant for salvation for those who are perishing, just like the cross, the only thing that saved them was on that wood of the boat in the unknown abyss of an ocean, the seas of the world, where unknown creatures lurk in the darkness, that what you can not see awaiting to devour you...your soul. And why venture out into the ocean with Jesus? on the wood such as the wood of the cross? To cross the world, to cross into eternity. To cross and show the way.
The other day, I was so tired from the Cursillo weekend, I told my wife and kids I was going to bed early, usually, I am the last to see them all go to bed. I lay in bed, half asleep, everyone I could faintly hear had all gone to bed finally, but I could not fully go to sleep. In the stillness of the night, my wife had been rocking our toddler to go to sleep in the living room. Suddenly she frantically comes to me "some stranger is trying to come into the house!" she was so scared that it got my blood curling and I dashed out of bed and rushed to the door. Through a window I could see a figure in the moonlight, sort of standing there a guy in a baseball hat seemed, and I yelled at the figure in my daze and confusion and elevated heart rate "HEEEYY! WHAT DO YOU WANT!!? GET OUT OF HERE!!" The figure just stood there, I wondered if he was dangerous, or if he was lost, or someone on drugs. I wanted a reaction from my yelling and nothing. So flipped the porch lights on, and I saw it was my wife's nephew she had brought from out of town and everyone thought he was spending the night with someone else. Boy I was so despondent, "It's just Zack!" in shock and disbelief I went and plopped back to bed trying to ease my heart rate to go back to sleep.
They say Martin Luther King said "fear came knocking at my door, I went to open it, and there was nobody there".
Fear paralyzes people. The devil feeds off of fear. This is why people lock themselves up in the world and the Lord. Fear of many things. And the devil cashes in. Millions depend on drugs to feel safer and happier. Millions depend on other addictions. Millions depend on sports and recreation as a "get away" from real life. Many false gods, very few truly trusting our Father. Our Lord goes to another seashore and asks us to join the venture. "Oh but I don't like to fly" because it means you must trust your life to one guy, the pilot. Jesus. And so you rather take your chances which are ridiculously higher when you drive on highways. I often tell people at funeral vigils I'm asked to help at "please be careful on the roads, they are the most dangerous thing we face" and manly times I will reflect it as a road we must take to follow Jesus.
So, to answer the question to Jesus our Lord "Lord, do you not care that we are about to die?".
Jesus, in the same boat as us, looks, with a glance to the heart "well, do you not care that I should die with you?"
"Do you not live in Heaven, do you care more about your mortal life? Do you not know who I really Am?"
When they woke up the Lord, He turns on the light at the front porch. The thunderstorms frighten my little kids, the high winds, the thunder crashing, and they huddle together holding each other tight. If everything is alright they are ready to fight.
We must go through storms for one reason: To unite.
God knows what we do not.
I don't know who you trust with your life most.
And your soul?
Celebrate freedom only when found at the feet of the cross. We have been set free from the world of sin and death. And this makes me give praise and thanks God on my knees, "God you are so good!"