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The RCIA experience continues after the Easter Vigil during a period of mystagogy. I think that is a big word that means, “Well, the Easter Vigil is over. Now what?” Years ago when I was leading RCIA in a parish, I remember breaking open the Gospel reading about doubting Thomas. The other apostles had seen Jesus, but Thomas couldn’t believe Jesus was alive unless he saw and touched the resurrected man himself. We were discussing the story when a newly baptized woman spoke up and said, “I think Thomas was pretty weak. If I had been him, I would have believed from the start.” I remember how sure she was of herself and her statement.
The rest of the group agreed that it is human to doubt and sometimes the only thing that can get us through is the grace of God. Of course, this woman thought we were weak also for even saying that! I talked with her several times after that evening, sometimes cautioning her about being so sure of her statement. Unfortunately, less than two years later, she left Christianity altogether. She was so sure that she never allowed herself to see her own frailty. She was unprepared for the pitfalls life has in store for all of us. I think the Gospel passage about Thomas is so wellknown because most of us do not see ourselves in the role of the other apostles. We are like Thomas. That doesn’t make us bad or of little faith. That makes us human. Jesus did not scold Thomas but instead greeted him and the others, “Peace be with you.”
Jesus brings peace in the face of our fears, our pain, and yes, our doubts. His mercy knows no limits. Instead of getting down about our shortcomings, we should rejoice in the fact that the risen Lord is the remedy for our ailments and the answer for our unbelief.
-Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS © Liturgical Publications Inc.