Doubt and Faith

Weekly Missionary Reflection
Easter Week II, 11 April 2021

Acts 4:32-35; Ps. 118:2-4,16ab-18,22-24; 1 John 5:1-6; John 20:19-31

Who is the Apostle of Jesus that is always used as the object of reflection in the second week of Easter? He must be Thomas, also called Didymus: “the twins.” His doubt has been so famous that this Apostle is well known as “Thomas the Doubter.” This has been the fate of some characters in the Bible: their personality is often summarized by a single attitude or character. Some of them are properly represented, but more are badly labelled. Let’s say: Judas the Traitor, Peter the Denier, Zacchaeus the Dwarf, and the most male-bias: Mary Magdalene, the repentant prostitute!

What’s wrong with Thomas? What is incorrect with the doubt in believing? Today you and I are taught by Thomas about one of the essential stages in faith, that is: doubt! It’s not a new phenomenon. The calling stories of Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Job, Jeremiah, the People of Israel, etc., in the OT are always accompanied by doubt. Why? Because the duty and mission of God are often illogical for human beings. This is the first message: doubt is required for the the leap of faith. Doubt is required to shift from seeing and self-relying to the love and providence of the Risen Lord! That is the beginning doubt that leads Thomas to the most glorious confession about Jesus as: “My Lord and my God”. From the mouth of the Doubter, came the greatest confession about Jesus. Jesus is “the Revelator of God”. By seeing Jesus, human can see God Himself. His personality, work and teaching fully and completely present God to the believers.

Second, the stories of the appearance of the risen Jesus actually focus more on God’s work and initiative, rather than human’s character and weakness. God took inisiative to come to them. He came out of the closed tomb to enter the locked house of the disciples. The locked doors are not able to prevent Jesus, the only “Door for the sheep” (John 10:7). Only through Him can the “peace” (vv. 19 and 21) be present to His disciples. His shalom is not just a mere greeting, but a profound and comprehensive salvation, a gift from the risen Lord. It is this peace that is able to dispel the fear of the disciples and ensure true peace, not self-locking in a human’s created fortress and sense of security. This peace brings profound joy to the troubled and despair (v. 20).

Third, not only giving Shalom, the risen Jesus also gave them the Holy Spirit. As God created human at the beginning with His breath (Gen. 2:7), so did the Risen Jesus recreate His disciples into new humans (John 20:22). They were like a heap of “dry bones” that received God’s breath (cf. Ezek. 37:9). The disciples who were afraid and locked themselves were then transformed and empowered by Him to become brave preachers. They had to carry on the preaching of Jesus: offering love, forgiveness and reconciliation from God (v. 23). That is the command and duty that we inherit from them, the “eye and ear witnesses” of the glorious Lord.

(Hortensius Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:

For Evangelization intention:
Human Right: We pray for those who risk their life by fighting for human right under a dictatorial regime and authoritarianism, and even under critical democratic countries. We pray …

For Indonesian Churches intention:
For health officials: May the medical officials and health researchers be blessed with the virture to be alert, ready and willing to help others, especially in health emergency situation. We pray …

Special Intention for the year of St. Joseph:
May we be full of blessings, like St. Joseph, to have faith in the Son who is sent to restore the Kingdom of God, to the day of His sufferring , death and resurrection beyond the comfort of the world. We pray…

Amen

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