2nd Easter: He is Not Too Good to Be True
There is an old saying that goes something like, “If it is too good to be true, then it probably isn’t true.” Now, if you have never heard this saying, then you probably are still waiting for your 10 million dollars from the estate of Mrs. Susan Karumba of Nigeria or from the First Bank of Lagos. By the way, while you are waiting, you might want to check the balance on your credit card, in your bank, or on whatever other numbered accounts you were told to send to facilitate the transfer. And then there is that $10,000 you sent to release certain documents. But you’re getting 10 million back, right? Or not.
When something appears to good to be true, most people will question its veracity. Here in the United States, one of our states prides itself in questioning what appears to be too good to be true. I am sure you have seen their licence plates: Missouri, the Show Me State.
Now, it seems to me that if Jesus had come 2,000 years later than he did, and had come to the United States, then the apostle Thomas would have been from Missouri. He certainly sounds like he should have been from the Show Me state. He wasn’t going to believe the likes of Peter, who had denied the Lord, and those bumbling Mama’s boys, James and John. Besides this, it just seemed too good to be true. Thomas had put all his hope on Jesus of Nazareth. He left everything he had, his whole life, and followed Jesus for three years throughout Galilee and Judea. Thomas witnessed the Lord’s miracles. He was held spellbound by Jesus’ preaching. He luxuriated in the Lord’s kindness and love. He had heard Jesus say that He was establishing his Father’s Kingdom. And he was certain that he, one of the chosen 12, would have an important place in that kingdom.
And then Jesus was arrested, and crucified. Everything seemed lost, the hope for the future, the conquest of the Kingdom of God, the role of the disciples in the Kingdom. And worse than all this was that Jesus was lost to his closest friends. Thomas’ mourning was so great that he simply could not believe it when he heard the other disciples say on that third day after Jesus’ death that they had seen the Lord. It seemed like a cruel hoax, just re-opening the wounds of losing Christ. He would not believe them. What they were saying was too good to be true.
But it was true. All that Jesus said was true, including his promise to rise from the dead. The Gospel does not record that Thomas touched Jesus’ hands and side as so many painting depict; just that Jesus offered them to Thomas. What the Gospel does record is Thomas’ immediate response, “My Lord and My God,” the same response all of us have when we pray before the elevated Body of Christ and Blood of Christ during Mass. I would think that Thomas did not need to touch the Lord. He only had to enjoy the presence of the Savior.
We all know many people who do not believe in the Lord simply because, like doubting Thomas, everything about the Lord seems too good to be true. So many people squander their lives on superficialities. Their ipad is more important than their brother or sister, their hopes for the future revolve around money instead of around the love of God. And they become disappointed over and over again. There are people, all of us have done this without realizing it, who have put all their hope on a relationship that is not rooted in the Lord. “I thought this was the right person for me,” someone says, “and then she or he cheated on me, cheated on our marriage, or just dumped me for someone else.” Or, there are those who base all their hope on their work as a goal not as a means towards the eternal goal. So they say, “I thought this job, this career, this school, would be perfect for me, but it is not all it is cut out to be.” So many people have been so disappointed throughout their lives that they can’t believe that something, Someone, could be better than they ever imagined.
But Someone is better than their fondest imagination. And living as He calls us results in deep, lasting happiness. The doubting Thomases of our world, those who doubt life, need us. They need us to tell them about Jesus Christ with our lives as well as with our words. They need us to explain how His Presence in our lives makes life so beautiful, so worthwhile. They need us to tell them about that weekend or a week we spent on a retreat when we realized that we were happier than we have ever been. They need us to tell them how we felt at our babies’ baptisms, and how we feel the times that we listen to our children pray, and the genuine pride we have in our faith filled Teens and young adult children.
When your friends ask you, “Why did you go to Church during Holy Week or every Sunday?” Or, simply, “Why do you take your faith so seriously?” Tell them, “I love the Lord, and I love having Him in my life. And every time I think that my life can’t get any better, He finds a way to make it better.”
There are a lot of doubting Thomases in the world. There are a lot of people who do not believe that the happiness of the Lord is offered also to them. There are a lot of people who do not believe that life can be better than their fondest imagination when it is lived with the Lord. There are a lot of people who think that Christ is too good to be true.
They need us. They need the experience of our happiness. They need us to point the way to Jesus Christ.