Connecting Point

Connecting Point: April 7, 2024

In the Gospel this week, Thomas does not believe the other Apostles’ proclamation of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. We tend to put the blame for his disbelief solely on the shoulders of poor “Doubting Thomas” himself. Shouldn’t some, if not most, of that burden fall on the other Apostles? After all, their proclamation of the Resurrection did little to inspire Thomas to believe. Contrast that to the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, where “With great power, the Apostles bore witness to the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus” inspires the community to be of one heart and mind in their belief. So, what’s the difference?

The difference lies in the living out of their witness. Their telling Thomas about Jesus was not supported by a change in their actions. They were still locked in a room and afraid. As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. In the readings, the believing community led by the Apostles boldly lived out God’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves in how they treated each other by providing for everyone’s needs. The way they lived gave power to their words and inspired others to believe. They “talked the talk” and “walked the walk.”

First and foremost, we must approach people who don’t believe in our actions. We need to lead with mercy, as Pope Francis often says. We need to treat them with kindness and generosity—making friends. Then, we have to be true and faithful friends to them, laying down our lives for them. Only then can we effectively bring those friends to Christ.

A huge part of bringing those friends to believe in the Living Christ is prayer. Before we talk to our friends about Jesus, we need to talk to Jesus about our friends. Some of the most powerful words you can use with someone who doesn’t believe are “I’ll pray for you,” “I am praying for you,” and, when you feel they’re ready, “Can I pray with you?” Even if your friends seem to react badly to your prayers for them, don’t give up on them or get offended. Just remain faithful, continuing to lift them up to Jesus.

If we live authentically in the love of Jesus every day, people around us will begin to ask why we are so different. If they are not asking, we need to look again at how we are living (or not living) our own faith. When the questions come, we must be genuine and humble. We don’t have to know everything; we just have to help our friends find the answers they are looking for. We simply have to walk with them as friends in Jesus.