Faith Daily | 21 December 2020
PRAYER of the Week| ADVENT FOUR (APBA p.471):
raise up your power and come among us,
and with great might succour us,
that, whereas through our sins and wickedness
we are sore let and hindered
in running the race that is set before us,
your bountiful grace and mercy
may speedily help and deliver us;
through your Son our Lord,
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit
be honour and glory, now and for ever.
COLLECT PRAYER FOR THOMAS
Almighty and eternal God,
who, for the firmer foundation of our faith,
allowed the apostle Thomas to doubt the resurrection
of your Son
until word and sight convinced him:
grant that we, who have not seen, may also believe,
and so receive the fulness of your Son’s blessing;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. APBA p.624
GOSPEL for the Day: John 20: 24-29
24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Peter Brady
Poor Thomas. The reading on his feast day marks a low point in his relationship and belief in Jesus where he announces the visual and physical proof he will require before he can believe in the resurrection. And so 'Doubting Thomas' entered into the lexicon and his story is used as a lesson to subsequent generations about faith and belief.
And yet, fortunate Thomas. Jesus understands his failings and responds with the gentlest of rebukes. In return, Thomas receives the gift of recognition and names Christ as his Lord and God - an immense shift for someone who would, to that point, have considered themselves an observant Jew.
The struggles and failings of the disciples is a recurring theme throughout the Gospel, as is Jesus' acceptance, love and forgiveness for them (on a personal note, I'm glad that 'Denying Peter' has not gained as much traction as 'Doubting Thomas').
Like Thomas (and Peter) we struggle, and sometimes fail, but we go forward in the belief and knowledge, that our Lord and God understands, accepts and forgives. What more could we possibly need.
God of compassion and strength,
visit us and give us the hope of your Spirit dwelling within and around us.
Help us to trust in the relationships of our lives
that help us to know your abiding love and lasting peace.
Enliven us to trust in you and bring us all into the joy of Your eternal salvation.