Easter Thursday: Mystery Unfolds

April 21, 2022


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, Jesus asks his disciples, “Why do questions arise in your heart?”

We might stand beside them with our own prayer:

Honestly, Lord? How could they not have questions arise? You have, after all, just RISEN FROM THE DEAD! We’re not used to that, and we’re not sure how to handle it!

And about that Last Supper, when you said the bread and wine were your Body and Blood? It’s a pretty amazing statement, and we’re still trying to comprehend it.

Besides all that, Lord, just now the whole world is languishing in the midst of violence, war, and disease and we’re not sure exactly where You are!

We’re just human beings, Lord. Our minds naturally work to solve problems. That’s why we have questions – we like answers.

Only now, as Resurrection People, are we beginning to learn that you are much more the “The Answer”.

You will always be “The Mystery” – the Infinity we are invited to –  where there is no end, only deeper, always deeper.

Help us to learn that our faith and our doubts are the same thing – they are our attempts to embrace the Question. Help us transform our doubts to faith by our unequivocal trust in your unfolding Mystery.

For God does not want to be believed in,
to be debated and defended by us,
but simply to be realized through us.”
― Martin Buber

Mystery is not to be construed
as a lacuna in our knowledge,
as a void to be filled,
but rather as a certain plentitude.
— Gabriel Marcel

Music: The Mystery of God – Dan Schutte

A Map?

Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter

May 8, 2020

Click here for readings

Today, in Mercy, Paul nearly completes his sermon in Pisidian Antioch.  In this section, he is very clear about the failure of “those in Jerusalem” to recognize the Messiah when He finally came.

Paul Preaches by Raphael

Paul points out, however, that this very failure was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies.

…by condemning him
they fulfilled the oracles of the prophets

that are read sabbath after sabbath.

These resistant religious leaders had spent their entire lives sifting through the Law and the Prophets looking for their savior. But when he finally stood in their midst, they were blind to him. Where had they gone wrong?

Thomas has his doubts answered (16th C. icon)

In our Gospel, we have Thomas who is a little blinded himself. We know from other passages that Thomas is someone who likes to see for himself. Faith comes a bit hard for him. In today’s Gospel, Thomas tells Jesus he needs a map in order to follow him.

Can’t you just see Jesus looking at him, a little dumbfounded. Thomas has been with Jesus through it all – the sermons, the loaves and fishes, the walking on water, the raising of Lazarus. But he still doesn’t see with that comfortable trust which frees the heart to give itself completely to God.

Hey, I get it, don’t you! Jesus is prepping his disciples for the coming days of his Passion and Death. This is going to be the hardest time of all their lives. Fear, uncertainty, and impending danger hang in the air like a steel fog. Thomas is scared and confused.

We’ve all been there. Maybe we’re there right now.

John14_6 Way

Jesus is saying the same thing to us as he said to Thomas:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus is the Way. Let us find him in our daily prayer, scripture reading, and acts of mercy. Let us give him any fear, confusion or doubt blocking us from moving forward in faith.

Music: Jesus Is the Way – written by Walter Hawkins, sung here by the Morgan State Choir (lyrics below). 

(The Morgan State University Choir is one of the nation’s most prestigious university choral ensembles and was led for more than three decades by the late Dr. Nathan Carter, celebrated conductor, composer, and arranger. While classical, gospel, and contemporary popular music comprise the majority of the choir’s repertoire, the choir is noted for its emphasis on preserving the heritage of the spiritual, especially in the historic practices of performance.)

Jesus Christ Is The Way

When I think about the hour
Then I know what I must do
When I think about, what God, has done for me
Then I will open up my heart
To everyone I see, and say
Jesus Christ is the way!

No one knows the day nor the hour
Maybe morn, night or noon
But just rest assured
Time will be no more
He is coming (I know he’s coming) soon
Coming soon

And I will open up my heart
To everyone I see
And say
Jesus Christ is the way
Then I will open up my heart
To everyone I see
And say
Jesus Christ is the way
And say
Jesus Christ is the way

Reborn in God

Second Sunday of Easter

April 19,2020

Click here for readings

Today, in Mercy, our readings offer us a snapshot of the infant Church – a joyful, loving, generous community confidently sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.


Our Responsorial Psalm, written centuries before their time, prophetically captures their grateful Resurrection prayer:

R. Alleluia.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.

Our second reading from Peter voices the community’s amazed gratitude:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Friends, how we need that living hope today, in these times that test our souls!

It is true that everyday of our lives we are reborn in God.  New grace, new challenge, new blessing comes to us daily. But the need for that newness has seldom felt so momentous as it does in these pandemic times.

We are challenged:

  • to find God in clouded realty
  • to be a channel of God’s love even in suffering
  • to build the generous community despite isolation
  • to be the touch of Mercy in a touchless world

We may feel a little like Thomas as we pray with these challenges. It must have been so hard for him to touch the wounds of Jesus! And it must have been shocking for him to feel them — these apparent talismans of suffering –  now charged with an infinite transformative power!

My Lord

What changed for Thomas to make him a devout believer? Not his circumstances. Not the reality around him.  Not the challenges before him.

The change came within him because he believed. By looking through suffering to glory, Thomas believed.

May we have that kind of faith in these times that so hunger for it! That kind of faith allows us to be reborn!

(Speaking of being reborn, I am sending a short second reflection today. Today is my 75th birthday and the Psalm is my way of celebrating with all of you.)

Music: Thomas Song – Halleal (Lyrics below)

Thomas’ Song – Hallal

Jesus you were all to me,
Why did you die on Calvary?
O Lamb of God, I fail to see
How this could be part of the plan.

They say that you’re alive again
But I saw death and every sin
Reach out to claim their darkest whim
How could this part if the plan?

If I could only
Hold your hand
And touch the scars
Where nail were driven,
I would need
To feel your side
Where holy flesh
A spear was riven,
Then I’d believe,
Only then I’d believe
Your cruel death
Was part of a heavenly plan.

Holy presence, holy face
A vision filling time and space
Your newness makes my spirit race
Could this be part of the plan?
I see the wounds that caused the cry
From heaven, ocean, earth, and sky
When people watched their savior die
Could this be part of the plan?

Reaching out
To hold your hand
And touch the scars
Where nails were driven
Coming near
I feel your side
Where holy flesh
A spear was riven
Now I believe
Jesus now I believe
Your cruel death
Was part of a heavenly plan
I proudly say
With blazen cry
You are my Lord and my God!


Heads or Tails?

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/070318.cfm


Has doubt ever dogged you, or at least nipped at the edges of your soul?  All kinds of doubt, I’m talking about! Doubt yourself. Doubt your loved ones. Doubt the Church, the government, the media. You get the idea.

Some doubt is good. It’s more like “discernment”, and it saves us from misplaced trust. A skill that’s honed through a lifetime, it can eventually be exercised prudentially, without skepticism or aloofness.

But another type of doubt can be crippling. Call it the “not enough” type: I am not good enough, smart enough, good-looking enough, experienced enough, – so on and on – to take on a challenge or make a contribution. Ever felt that kind of doubt?

There is third type of doubt which I call “the flip side of faith”. It’s that fine line where we balance between wanting to believe and wanting to know. This type of doubt whispers things like this in our minds: “You don’t really know if there is a God, so how can you believe?” But isn’t that the whole point of faith? If we really knew, for certain, of God’s existence, we wouldn’t have to believe!

What’s the difference between these flip sides of the coin? 

With faith, we give our love and service unreservedly, even though we have not seen. With doubt, we skimp or reserve these until given proof.

So today, we meet “doubting Thomas”. He needed the touch of nail marks and lance wounds before he could believe. And it’s not hard to understand why.

The Resurrection of Jesus was mind-blowing. It changed history for all time to come. It conquered the one unconquerable – DEATH itself. Thomas had not yet seen proof of the Resurrection. The other disciples had. No wonder his coin was spinning between heads and tails!

What about us? Have we seen the Easter Power in our lives? Have we let God win the toss up between our faith and doubt? Today, on this feast of St. Thomas, we might ask his help to let us learn from the wounds of Christ exactly how that Power can assure us.

Music: Blessed Assurance ~ a well-known Christian hymn. The lyrics were written in 1873 by blind hymn writer Fanny Crosby to the music written in 1873 by Phoebe Knapp.

Faithful Thomas

Second Sunday of Easter, April 8, 2018: Today, in Mercy, we read the story of Thomas who, despite a brilliant missionary life for Jesus, never shakes the sobriquet, “Doubting”. Are we all like Thomas, at least sometimes? Don’t we all really wonder sometimes if Jesus, if God, is for real? Doubt is simply the flip side of faith. Like faith, it is a place where we do not know for sure. But faith is that choice to believe in, and act from, Christ’s promise of that surety. May we, like Thomas, reclaim the fullness of our faith by the heart-felt prayer, “My Lord and my God!”