From Elke: There are 2 songs relating directly or indirectly to the story of Thomas.
Without Seeing You
And the Song of Praise “If I could Touch You” (just imagine Marlon singing)
A Sunday reflection by Fr. Ron.
Wow! In Spain, we have been in confinement for over a month. During this time, we have experienced a variety of emotions and have evolved over this strange and challenging time.
At first, it was novel and weird. We did not know how long it would last. So, we took advantage of the free time. We cleaned the house, went through papers, and finished up long neglected tasks. We thought it would last only two weeks and we may have even tried to maintain as much as possible our previous habits. We turned to our devices and shared funny videos. We wanted the time to pass by quickly. We began to discover the amazing new heroes and heroines of the health care industry. We applauded them with appreciation.
Then after a while, we began to have days when we felt bored, nervous or stressed. The news kept getting worse: more deaths, more infections, hospitals now overrun, and we began to hear about people that we knew who were infected and suffering. We began to have real worries about unemployment and the future economy. We were outraged by the few cases of those who selfishly and blatantly disobeyed confinement. Even worse, families began to experience serious conflicts because of the pressure cooker environment of being cooped up. Domestic violence reared its ugly head.
Then there were more videos about God, more about prayer, more about finding meaning in all of this. We also began to accept the new normal with less resistance and more resignation.
No matter what, though it all, we have been, and still are being changed, by this experience.
Human beings are resilient. We are survivors and we are fighters. Some are better than others at stepping up, but we know that together, we will overcome this new situation. The beautiful part of our story so far is that our world decided to protect the weakest members of our society. We all know that the elderly and those with preexisting health conditions are the most vulnerable to the COVID19 virus. The world could have just carried on without any confinement and even though many would have died, most would have survived and the economy would have not been as seriously damaged. The world chose compassion (for the most part).
This Sunday in the gospel we look at the apostle Thomas. We revisit his title as “Doubting Thomas,” which is unfortunate and misleading because at the end he was the only apostle who clearly confessed Jesus as “my Lord and my God.” He was actually the one who best discovered the truth of Jesus Christ in the midst of much pain, confusion and uncertainty.
This world will never be heaven. The proof of God’s love cannot be found in a life free of suffering and pain. Instead, our Christian faith asks us to contemplate the Cross. It is only in our acceptance of the cross, that we can find the truth. Yes, the cross is a paradox. It boldly proclaims that God loves us in spite of the pain and suffering. God suffers along with us. God is not a means to an end but the Beginning and the End of everything, everywhere. This life is a journey, maybe even a test, and the ultimate goal is love and life eternal.
I have no idea how things will be next month or the month after that. The world will surely be very different. We pray that it will be better and we count on the goodwill of so many to make that so. For this Sunday, we can look at the model of the apostle Thomas and learn from him. Sure, there are moments of doubt, sure there will be moments of confusion and pain. But when we search the depths of our soul, we, as believers, choose hope over despair, light over darkness, and faith over disbelief. In spite of it all, we still cry out: You are my Lord and my God!