LITURGY

Second Sunday of Easter

cross


   

WORD OF GOD
Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.
(John 20: 25)
 

WORD FOR TODAY
Faith means that, although we cannot see God in the flesh, we are sufficiently receptive to the signs of his risen presence in our world, that not to believe would make no sense. And for Christians the only way forward is by faith.
 

WORDS FOR WORSHIP
Blessed be God the Father who did not spare his only Son but sent him into the world so that you who believe may have eternal life.
Blessed be God for ever!
Blessed be God the Son who broke the chains of death and rose to a glorious life which through baptism you now share.
Blessed be God for ever !
Blessed be God the Holy Spirit who sustains you in faith so that although you cannot see God you are surrounded by his manifold graces.
Blessed be God for ever!
And may our God whom we bless, return his blessing upon us, the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Amen.
 

FAITH IN FOCUS: HURTING THOMAS
It would be so easy to read the passage from today’s gospel about “doubting” Thomas and then just presume the lesson to be learnt is that it’s all right to have doubts if you hang on to your faith.
But if we look closer we might discover that it’s not so much “doubting” Thomas that we see. It’s more like “hurting” Thomas. He has invested all the energies of his past three years in something that looks as if it has ended in failure. His words show that he feels more let down than anything. Thomas is not so much the reasoned agnostic as the disheartened follower.
Most parishes have dozens if not hundreds of hurting Thomases. Some of them are young people who desperately want to believe in God, in a sense of purpose to life. They really do have deep spiritual feelings, but they feel that the Church is unable to harness these God-given yearnings. “All my kids have lost their faith” is something we often hear. Maybe they have not lost their faith, but they’ve probably lost yours.
Of course, there are many other people whose lives take them down paths that make their connection with the Church less than welcoming. It’s not that they reject the Church. It’s just that they can’t see the point of the Church at this particular moment. But they desperately want to be part of the promise.
Interestingly, when Jesus meets Thomas after the resurrection he doesn’t start a lesson on the faith with him. He just takes him as he is. In fact, he repeats Thomas’s own words back to him... a sign of a wise counsellor.
Maybe the point of today’s gospel is to remind us how easy it is to mistake confusion and disappointment for doubt. And perhaps we are being invited as a community to be more sympathetic to those who once worshipped and believed with us but who now feel that they are unable to stand up and profess their faith in God and the Church as in former days. We could start by acknowledging that we too have holes in our hands and our side.

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