Summary: God treats us an individuals and knows our specific needs just as he did with MAry, Peter and Thomas and the unnamed disciples of Jn 20
Story: There were once two identical twins. They were alike in every way but one.
One was a hope-filled optimist, Peter who only ever saw the bright side of life.
The other, Thomas was a dark pessimist, who only ever saw the down side in every situation.
The parents were so worried about the extremes of optimism and pessimism in their boys they took them to the Doctor.
He suggested a plan. “On their next birthday give Thomas a shiny new bike, but give the Peter a pile of manure.”
It seemed a fairly extreme thing to do.
After all the parents had always treated heir boys equally.
But in this instance they decided to try to Doctor’s advice.
So when the twins birthday came round they gave Thomas the most expensive, top of the range, racing bike a child has ever owned.
When he saw the bike his first words were, “I’ll probably crash and break my leg.”
To Peter the optimist they gave a carefully wrapped box of manure.
He opened it, looked puzzled for a moment, then ran outside screaming,
“You can’t fool me! Where there’s this much manure, there’s just gotta be a pony around here somewhere!”
Which are you – the optimist or the pessimist?
Last week I told you of the three post resurrection appearances of Jesus in John 20.
How Jesus appeared to
i) to Mary Magdalene
ii) to all the disciples except Thomas and finally
iii) to Thomas
And in the following Chapter, John 21 we read of Jesus appearing to seven disciples including Peter, James and John, Thomas, Nathanael and two unnamed disciples.
And I explained why I thought the four were important
Because they dealt with barriers that we as Christians will experience at some time in our lives.
1. The first of these barriers to faith was GRIEF
And this was overcome by hearing the voice of Jesus
Mary Magdalene, in last week’s Gospel reading, couldn’t see Jesus for her grief.
It was only when she heard him call her name that she realised that He was risen.
Jesus spoke to her – and by speaking released her from her grief.
There are going to be times when we suffer from grief.
We may grieve for the loss of loved ones.
And it is at times like this that we need to listen for Jesus’ voice calling us.
2. The second of these barriers to faith was FEAR
And this was overcome by experiencing the presence of Jesus
The disciples in today’s Gospel reading were gathered behind closed doors in fear.
Fear of the Jews who crucified Jesus – were they coming for the disciples next?
It was a real fear
Jesus had been crucified – and were they next on the list?
And so Jesus comes to them and speaks words of peace. He showed them his crucified hands and St. John records:
“The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord” (Jn 20:20)
Fear can cripple us at times. It can make us irrational.
And at those times, we need to seek Jesus’ presence in our lives – and it is His Presence that will bring us peace.