John 20:24-29 Don’t Let The Word Go By
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Thomas, one of the Twelve, said to the other disciples, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
She looked like she was sixty. She walked very slowly and with a cane. She spoke with a raspy voice. The poor thing slept outside all night long. She was looking for help. She was looking for a meal and a place to stay. I asked her how long it had been since she went to Church. That’s when she finally looked up at me and said, “I stopped going to Church when a priest told me that if I didn’t change my ways, I would go to Hell.”
I told her, “He was right, wasn’t he.”
She was just forty-two years old. I couldn’t believe it. But after years of drug and alcohol use, this poor lady was living life in hell. Her pain was unceasing. At times she felt like her body was on fire. Instead of quitting the Church, she should have quit her sins.
The priest had told her the truth, and so she took it out on the Church. Though we can be the subjects of our liberty, we will always be captives of the truth. No matter how hard we try, we will never be able to free ourselves from the truth; that is, free ourselves from God! Blessed John Henry Newman once wrote: “Our strength is this world is, to be the subjects of the reason, and our liberty, to be captives of the truth” (Loss and Gain)
Seeing is believing. Life can be very long and miserable, especially when it is lived in sin. Is this so hard to believe? Is it so hard to believe that there is a right way and a wrong way to live life? I don’t need anyone to convince me of what will lead me to heaven or to hell. I don’t need any convincing, especially when I can see it for myself!
So how do we go so wrong? How do we get ourselves into a horrible mess? My guess is that we are easily fooled by the tiniest portion of the whole truth; that is, we are fooled by “the moment”. “The moment” is the part of truth we can see and easily believe. It is also the part that gets us into trouble.
When we grasp “the moment”, we tend to throw ourselves at it not realizing that it can actually sink us for good. For example, we see the glamour of evil and believe it, and are mastered by it, and only later terrorized by it.
When children see the glamour of the stage, the fans and the young artist, rock musician, actress or model on it, they are easily mesmerized by it. What they don’t realize is what we have all seen before; that is how the final production; the last call; the final farewell is given and received.
Believing is truly seeing…Why just limit life (or sight) to “the moment”. Why not believe in what we cannot immediately see? We believe a lot of things we can’t see. Why not believe in God’s Commandments? Why not take them to heart? Is it so hard to believe in the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Is it so hard to take what we have seen in the past and project it into the future? Haven’t we seen enough to help us believe?
I have often heard parents tell me, “They’re just kids”. I know that! Don’t tell me the obvious. But why trust in just "the moment". Kids grow up and either they become a parent’s joy or a very serious pain in the neck. Don’t let them mess around with sex, pornography, drugs or alcohol. Do you need to see in order to believe? Can you believe before you see?
One week later…Thomas missed “the moment”. But in reality, he “missed the point”. While the world went by and revolved around the sun, the Word went by and the Apostles revolved around the Son. Thomas was in hell…at least for one week. He neither believed in what his friends had seen or in what the Lord had said. His past experiences with the Lord meant nothing. His past errors in judgment meant nothing. A priest should have told Thomas, “If you don’t change your ways, you will go to Hell”. Thomas was living in hell! He was a doubter and his doubts had finally caught up to him. He always had a hard time putting together the whole truth (the past, the moment and the future). Doubts are like missing pieces of a puzzle or like time gone missing. By now, he should have been able to fill in the blanks. Instead, he wasted a week in his doubts. The Lord helped him. The Lord appeared to him.“Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed”. Why? Because they have seen the whole truth and nothing but the truth: Jesus Christ.