Sunday, April 5, 2015

Second Sunday of Easter (B), April 12, 2015 - John 20:19-31

Vie de Jesus MAFA: Jesus Appears to Thomas

It's Not God If You Think You Understand*

We think that there is something wrong with doubt,
And wonder if we might be less devout
Than others who of faith seem much more sure,
Reflecting by their words a love more pure.

But doubt in faith's no enemy of mine,
And Thomas has no less of love divine
Than anyone who thinks, and yet risks still
Believing that God's love our lives fulfill.

The Kenyan Muslims who protected friends
Are blessed; while those whose certainty descends
Unto the hell of Al Shabab, depraved,
Reveal a faith by which they are enslaved.

Likewise, it's clear religious freedom laws
When twisted to what seems a righteous cause
Devolve unto the wrong which just divides,
Confusing fervent love for God with pride.

Who knows why love forgives in Jesus' form,
Or bids the Risen One now be our norm;
It's not God if you think you understand,
The best of faith with doubt goes hand in hand.

Scott L. Barton

[*Augustine: "Why wonder that you do not understand? For if you understand, it is not God."  Serm. 117, 5: PL 38, 673.]

For other ways of looking at this text, please see previous posts for this Sunday in 2014 and 2013:

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

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