Thomas was so close. His sainthood teetered on the edge. If our Lord had not been merciful and returned to show his wounds, Thomas might never have believed in the Resurrection and might not have remained a follower of Christ. He would not be a saint and would be grouped instead with Judas. Thomas was so close to forsakenness. He could have fallen away. But Jesus catered to Thomas' need for proof and kept him secure. “Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.’ Thomas answered and said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’“ (Jn 20:27-28).
Maybe you've been close to the edge, close to falling astray and away from Christ. Or maybe even you did fall and were away for a while. Thomas is your saint then.
Thomas can remind us that our Lord is generous. He is compassionate, flexible, and desirous of us being committed disciples. Jesus wants us to be happy, and discipleship is what brings genuine happiness. Therefore, Jesus will give us what we need to believe, just as he did with Thomas. If you were close to the edge of forsakenness, or had fallen away, Jesus did not abandon you. He was very much looking out for you and working to get you back. Again, St. Thomas can help you understand that.
One final point: if we ask for something specifically and do not receive it, maybe that thing or sign we wanted was not good for us. It would not have helped our faith. And maybe not receiving that sign is precisely what we need to increase our faith and trust in God. Remember, Jesus is working for us, so we should give him the benefit of the doubt. Doubting Thomas, I'm sure, did after this experience.
I want to thank everyone who was involved liturgically in our Triduum services: Margie Shiel and the choir and cantors and bell ringers; Pam Francisco and the liturgy team and decorators; the lectors and commentators; the eucharistic ministers; those who had their feet washed; the altar servers; the Boy Scouts; and our RCIA candidates, Debra Gidd and Cullen Flanigan, who came into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. My first Holy Week at St. Juliana was a beautiful and moving experience, and I thank all of you for making that possible.
Please see inside the bulletin and online information about the Consecration to Mary. I will be doing this spiritual exercise and invite you to join me. There is very little commitment—a short reading every day and some prayers, all of which you can do privately. The rewards of this 33-day activity, however, are tremendous. You will grow closer to Mary and, as a result, closer to Jesus. Please email me or stop by the parish office to pick up a free booklet.
I'm excited for First Communion next Saturday, April 29th. Please pray for all of our second graders who will be receiving the Eucharist.
Mundelein Seminary has asked me to serve as an adjunct spiritual director for the seminary and others throughout the Archdiocese. I will be away this upcoming Monday through Friday at the seminary for training. If any of you would ever like to meet, whether it is for spiritual direction or just to chat, please know my door is always open.
Finally, we hope you all had a beautiful Easter with your families. It was great to see so many of you at Mass, and I'm grateful for the gifts, cards, candy, eggs, and other foodstuffs many of you gave us. I hope all of our school families had a restful and enjoyable spring break this past week, and welcome back!
Yours in Christ,