Benedictine University and MySpiritualAdvisor.com’s Mark Kurowski reflects on the irritation that we must feel when people aren’t where they should be when they are supposed to be there. How does Jesus react? How does he react to those without faith? Listen to this podcast of his reflection for Easter Sunday to find out. Please read John 20:19-31. For Audio, “Read More” below. #GreatCatholicPreaching #Catholic #BenU1887 #GreatPreaching #John20 #Doubting Thomas #HeIsRisen #Sermons #Homilies
For Benedictine University and MySpiritualAdvisor.com, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 4/7/2013The 2nd Sunday of Easter.
Please pause this audio and read John 20:19-31.
There is nothing that drives me crazy more than when I have to repeat a presentation that I have done, simply because everyone who was supposed to be there wasn’t there or arrived late. There is nothing more aggravating than to have someone not believe you when you tell them the truth, let alone when you walk through walls for people and they don’t believe you! It is enough to drive you crazy.
This is the difference between Jesus and us. Please, you know that Jesus gets irritated. He was irritated when the money changers were in the Temple. He was irritated when the people didn’t understand that he was going to raise Lazarus back in John Chapter 11. Here in John Chapter 20, we have Thomas not at a meeting of the apostles. All of them are there and the door is closed “in fear of the Jews.” So, we know that things are locked up tight.
Then there appears Jesus in his physically resurrected body. He breathes on them to give them the Holy Spirit. He shows them the marks of his hands and the piercing of his side. Having been beaten to within an inch of his life, hung on a Cross brutally to complete the assassination, and then buried, he now rises from the dead and appears as proof that he is come back from the dead. So, after that incredible salvific resume, Jesus has Thomas.
Now, we can’t just throw Thomas under the bus. There is the passage in Chapter 11 where Jesus is going to go into dangerous territory to get to Lazarus Thomas says, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
This is the same Thomas who asks the question, “how do we know the way?” To which Jesus famously replies, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” This is the same Thomas who, legend has it, and the Syro-Malabar Catholics believe, brought Christianity to India where it still is vibrant and alive.
There is a relationship here. There is a commitment. But, in the end, Thomas has too much familiarity with the situation. Possibly, Thomas has “Jesus” fatigue. He has a fatigue of following the Lord and feels he has to be shown something more. He risked much, even his life, up to this point, only to see his Lord hung on a Cross, buried in the tomb and have some women come say that someone told them that Jesus was risen from the dead. That is a crazy couple of weeks for anyone!
For Jesus, though, it is one more time, one more thing he has to do to prove to us that he is risen. One time, I called in sick at work. That very morning, a more secure job with benefits presented itself to me, if I could make an interview THAT afternoon. Honestly, that is how it happened. I took the job after the interview because it would allow me to marry Sandi.
There was one man at the garage where I worked who would not believe that I called off work because I was sick. He said, ‘he put two and two together and I really didn’t want to work there so I should just leave.’ I was disappointed that the guy didn’t believe me, but I thought, ‘who cares if he believes me. Forget him!’
As we can see with this whole story, Jesus doesn’t take that attitude. It is the difference between Jesus and us. It is the difference between what we see as the purpose of life and what he sees as the purpose of life. For us, setting ourselves up with security is the way of life. We stock pile possessions and retirement accounts, which is not such a bad thing, but it is not the purpose of life.
The purpose of life and Jesus’ life is to save humanity. Because that is his purpose, it stands to reason that he is not going to be irritated, like we would be irritated, by Thomas. Thomas is not alone in is lack of belief. The beloved disciple believed when he saw the empty tomb. Mary Magdalene believed because she heard a word. The ten remaining disciples believed when they saw the Lord in the upper room. Finally, Thomas believed when he finally had a special audience with Jesus to see the marks of the nails and put his hand in Jesus’ side. With each person, or type of person, and what they needed to come to believe in the Resurrection, there is Jesus.
Jesus patiently went to his death. Jesus patiently proves his resurrection. He constantly is coming to us over and over and over again to show us his hands and his side.
So, who are those people in your life who do not believe? What is your response to them? Do you hate them? Are you irritated with them? Are you exasperated with them? Whatever you are, Jesus is patient. He pursues and waits. He always extends the hands, the crucified hands, the Resurrected hands.
This week, I want you to list the people you know who do not believe. Make the list and love them. Make a list of the people who do not believe and pray for them to come to know the Lord and know him intimately. If you resent them, stop it. If you are irritated by them, stop that, too. Whatever you do this week, be like Jesus: go, patiently show the way of love. Amen? Amen.
This weekend, I will be the retreat Master for 20 college students and 26 retreat team members. Please pray for us, too that we would have a very blessed and meaningful retreat.
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