Anne O’Brien, Deputy CEO (Mission People and Culture), presents our Gospel Reflections this week. Today, as we celebrate the feast of St Thomas (Apostle) Anne reads from the Gospel of John (20: 24-29) in which Jesus says to Thomas, “Here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.”
Anne says, anyone who finds themselves in a teaching situation – whether as a teacher, a parent or a driving instructor – knows they have to meet the student where they are and not where the teacher might like them to be.
In today’s Gospel, Anne notes that we see Jesus meeting Thomas exactly where he was. There were no recriminations for a lack of faith, just total acceptance of Thomas in his state of doubt and confusion. After Jesus had addressed all the apostles, offering his gift of peace, he turned to Thomas to give him his undivided attention. He asked Thomas to reach out and extend his hand to him. Jesus then took Thomas’ hand. This is how Jesus deals with us: he meets us where we are and invites us to reach out to him to take his proffered hand.
When we find ourselves in a place of doubt and uncertainty in our own faith journey or in life, we can take comfort from today’s Gospel. The Lord is always very near to us. Our particular way of extending a hand to Jesus might take the form of a deep and intense cry from the heart as we pray from our own woundedness at times. We can trust that our wounded and risen saviour will always meet us where we are. Moreover, Jesus’ final words in today’s Gospel can console us: “Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.” That means us.
In closing Anne invites us to pray:
Loving Father, we thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus. Help us to grow in our faith and to recognise your presence in our lives. When we struggle with our faith, help us to reach out to you in faith and trust in your mercy. Amen.