Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Poor Thomas. Labeled for centuries now as the doubter. The one who questioned if the story were true. It’s funny how we do that to each other. (click the link to read more)

July 3, 2017

Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle

Lectionary: 593

EPH 2:19-22

PS 117:1BC, 2

JN 20:24-29

Poor Thomas.  Labeled for centuries now as the doubter.  The one who questioned if the story were true.  It’s funny how we do that to each other.  We choose one thing about someone and we use that label them.  Gay.  Queer.  Bisexual.  Weird.  Homophobic.  Angry.  Straight.  Old fashioned.  Instead of seeing someone as infinitely complex and magnificent, fearfully and wonderfully made; we want to reduce them to one action or another.  We label the Muslim as the other because of ISIS and Hamas.   The Atheist as the rejected and outcast.   The Christian as the stubborn and unintelligent.  All of these things reduce us from what we truly are.   Thomas was much more than just this one incident in his life.  He was also the one who spoke up and declared that they would go with Jesus to Jerusalem to die with Him and confessed Jesus as both Lord and God.

I don’t think labels are helpful.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying all actions are the same and that ‘everyone is saved.’   I am not a universalist by any means.   What I do think is that we tend to spend a lot of time separating the goats and the sheep, when it’s not our job to do so.   That’s the job of the great Judge, Jesus Christ, at the end of time.  We are members of that body, built together by the Holy Spirit, into One Temple.   Not many small ones that split and rebuild into two when there is an argument or doctrinal challenge.  One Church, one Body, not hidden for centuries and then rediscovered today, but rather one that has been present, born from the side of Christ on Calvary, and led by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  That Church is full of so many complex individuals who could be labeled by a hundred words and still be truthful.

As a Catholic, I understand litanies.  The purpose of a Litany is to remind us of all the various titles of a Saint or God himself.   A list of names that tell who God is and how amazing his glory is.   He is both mercy and justice.  Love and peace.  All things good, not just one or the other.   That’s what I love about our Church.  One church will be this, and another that… and Catholics will be both/and instead of either/or.  The Key is not my label.   It’s in understanding who He is, that He is the capstone, the key that holds together the entirety of the structure, that I can even begin to fathom who I am.   As I head into this silent retreat this week I will be praying for my parish, my family, my friends, and myself.  Praying that each of us will discern God’s calling our lives and put on the only label that truly matters, the Mark of the Child of God.

 His servant and yours,
Brian Mullins

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14