We’re given all the answers to all of life early on in our lives. Our thoughtful parents carefully transmit their responses to us. We trust, believe, and follow their lead. The “terrible two’s” arrive, and the incessantly repeating of “Why?” is given to every intelligent parental response. Things quiet down for a while until high school’s sophomore year, sophomore meaning “wise fool.” The doubts creep in even stronger until the mid-twenties, when we realize how smart our parents quickly got.
Then there’s the star of today’s gospel, Doubting Thomas. An undeserved handle to conveniently categorize and contain him in our illusionary way of controlling people. Why don’t we call Peter “Two-timing Peter” for all of his back and forth commitment to Jesus? Or call him “Miser Matthew.” Because of his previous trade, he probably kept a little on the side just if this Messiah thing didn’t work. Nope. It’s only “Doubting” Thomas. The man who wanted the questions were asked first instead of accepting the answers to all of life’s inquiries. I think Thomas was a down-to-earth kind of guy. Jesus is crucified, and are his fellow friends letting their imaginations run wild? Were they drowning their sorrows by drinking that cheap wine again, thinking about a resurrection?
Thomas is that plane-spoken man. Lazarus dies, and Jesus wants to visit his friend and his sisters. The apostles object because Jesus’ life might be in jeopardy. The Jews may kill him in Bethany. Knowing of Jesus’ love for Lazarus, Thomas convinces the other that they accompany Jesus he will be safe. Does that sound like “doubt” to you? And then Jesus gets poetic, as he sometimes does, with his “Don’t let your hearts be troubled” poetry. A favorite for us at funerals. Thomas chimes in and says, “Just tell us what you mean?” Jesus nips it in the bud and says, “I’m way, truth, and life. Happy now, Thomas?” Thomas would have gladly responded, “Yes, now that makes sense.”
We were given all of life’s answers in our developing years. Developing years that continue for our entire lifetimes. At the offertory part of the Mass, we are asked to lift up to God our whole lives. As I said on Easter Sunday, we lift up our entire lives, including all of our assured answers as well as our daunting doubts. For any of that to be missing would not be the life God wants of us.
We were given all of life’s answers in our developing and still developing years. Doubt. How often we dismiss someone by saying, “I doubt he can do it.” The game’s tied in the fourth quarter, and it’s third and seven. We yell at the TV, ‘the quarterback is IN jeopardy.’” Doubt and hope mixed together. A reasonable doubt holding out for a heavenly hope. He makes good with his fateful toss. Now, put these words together: “The quarterback is ON Jeopardy!” “No, say it ain’t so, Joe.” A dumb jock hosting the most challenging quiz show on television!?
We all have our faith-filled answers to any of life’s questions. “Dumb jock?” “Doubting Thomas?”