Doubt for the Leap of 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 labeled. 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 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: “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, humans 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 character and weakness. God took initiative 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” (v. 19 and 21) be present to His disciples. His shalom is not just a mere greeting, but 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 humans 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 salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit animating Jesus, also be my guidance and strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, in particular I present my prayer for our Pope and apostle prayer of Indonesian Church of this month:

For Universal Churches: Health workers
We pray for the health workers who take care of the sick and elder, especially those in poor countries; may they have sufficient support from the government and local community.

For Indonesian Churches intention: Behave towards consumerism
We pray that we can stay modest and be not tempted to possess the unnecessary things in the midst of the wave of consumerism that dictates the world.

Amen

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