Reflection for Friday, May 8, 2020: 4th week in Easter.

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Cherney, Mike
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2020-05-08
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In the first reading Paul explains to a Jewish audience how Jesus fulfills the promise of the Messiah as outlined in Scripture. The Psalm is a passage that Paul references. The Gospel has an exchange between Jesus and the apostles at the Last Supper concluding with Jesus saying "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me." When I contemplate Paul's discourse in the synagogue from the perspective of a devout Jew, I can envisage how Paul's arguments rather than persuading his listeners might upset them. I would not like to be told that my people messed up in terms of Jesus. I can see myself becoming upset and defensive. It may not be surprising that later in this chapter of the Acts of the Apostles Paul is run out of town. Ironically, if I try to consider how I would have addressed the issue if I was Paul, I can see myself acting in much the same way. (Perhaps this is an insight into why it is better for me to keep my opinions to myself at family gatherings.) If I imagine myself in today's Gospel, current events draw me to seeing myself in the role of Thomas. These days like Thomas, I find myself asking what is the endgame and how do we get there? Two months ago, my plans for the next six months were clear. Today I live day to day taking what the Lord sets in my path. I am someone who wants to be able to be in control. (I am grateful that my wife of 35 years has been patient with me.) These days I am learning valuable lessons in trust, mostly because I have no other choice. I imagine how Thomas reacted to Jesus' response to his question. If Thomas was like me, I think that he may not have felt all that reassured. I think a lot about Thomas. Thomas cares about what he believes. Statements attributed to Thomas appear 3 times in the Gospel of John. In Chapter 11, he is the one who expresses a willingness to support Jesus along the challenging road ahead. In today's Gospel, some scholars translate Jesus' declarative "You have faith" as the imperative "Have faith". Given that latter translation, I can see, after Jesus' initial discourse, Thomas asking where exactly are you going and how do we get there? In Chapter 20, Thomas doubts the reports of the resurrection until he has an encounter with Jesus. I can relate to someone who doubts. (Perhaps this why I ended up with a career in science. I should add that I find myself wondering how different was Thomas who was away from the other apostles who were hiding in a safehouse? I am not so confident that their faith was very different before the risen Jesus entered their space.) I also receive great consolation in knowing that in the post-Pentecost times, Thomas responded with the strength and confidence gifted by the Spirit. Tradition has it that he was the one who carried the Gospel outside the "known" world perhaps venturing as far as India and China. My prayer today is guided by my perception of Thomas' experience. Dear Lord,|You have given me the gift of caring about what I believe.|Today's world is full of uncertainty. The direction, in which things are heading, is far from clear.|Jesus delivers a message with confidence, but I find myself with worries and doubts.|In my encounters with You, help me to discern what is true and what matters.|As the feast of Pentecost approaches, open my heart to your Spirit.
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University Ministry, Creighton University.
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These reflections may not be sold or used commercially without permission. Personal or parish use is permitted.
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