Strength. These past days have been tumultuous as I try and get myself up to track in completing most of my school assignments. It gets more tiring in the final run up to exams as it is evident in all the tired and subdued faces in class. I pray for the courage and strength to finish all that I have to do. I hand my worries over to Jesus and let him to do the rest. It always seems impossible until it is done.
The gospel reading says,“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,for fear of the Jews,Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”When he had said this,he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,and whose sins you retain are retained.”
Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to 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 into the nail-marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked,and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”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!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name”(John 20:19-31).”
I am sure the disciples felt a sense of abandonment and fear as their Master, Jesus was not with them. They were uncertain in their faith and might have even doubted that Jesus would return as He had promised. Their hearts were full of doubts and fear that they locked themselves in. Sometimes, I do want to lock myself in and believe that no one cares or understands me. However, when I observe my surroundings, I realise that there are others who are frustrated and are on the verge of giving up.
But Jesus still came to be with His disciples and said, “Peace Be with You.” The words uttered by Jesus are reassuring and convey a deeper meaning of His love and mercy for His disciples even though they were unsure of things happening around them, such as comprehending,”What was the meaning of all these?”Rather than reprimanding them, Jesus gives them the Holy Spirit for them to know that He is with them through it all.
Every Friday, I make my way down to an after-care community centre where my university friends and I would coach at-risk and disadvantaged children in ensuring that they either complete their homework or assessment papers. It brought back many memories for these children, some pleasant and unpleasant, of when I struggled in subjects such as Maths and Science in the primary school.
Though their attention span might be short, I had to keep encouraging them to believe in themselves as with guidance, they are willing to learn and complete their work. Last week, I met this kid who asked me for help in maths and I could see both confusion and joy in his eyes.
Confusion because he kept telling me that he could not do maths, let along spell the numbers out. I knew that he needed some patience and teaching which after a few times, he knew how to go about them. Joy was when after completing his assessment, he ran quickly to the staff of the centre and later went to join his friends to play. After that, he came up, interacted with me and I knew that he was relieved that he had completed his work.
Social work is not exactly a high paying job and few enter into the sector as it is quite demanding with long working hours. Sometimes the work leaves a person emotionally and physically drained. The reward is to know that you have made someone’s life better and put a smile on the face- that is a simple but yet sometimes hard motivation.
Lord, I pray that you give those who work in the social sector, a heart of mercy, forgiveness and courage to be hope and light to those around them.
I believe that they need someone to show them that they can do it and it takes time to get to know them better. I think the imagery of Jesus being a patient and understanding teacher really spoke to me this week as He believed men were still capable of good work even though they were not perfect, just like His disciples.
May we continue to believe in the risen Lord and bring peace everywhere for Jesus is full of compassion, mercy and love. As we say, “Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.”Amen.
I would end this post with a hymn “We Walk By Faith and Not By Sight” as this encompasses the meaning of the gospel and that Jesus is always with us, forever. God Bless and Jesus loves you!
“We walk by faith and not by sight;
with gracious words draw near,
O Christ, who spoke as none e’er spoke:
“My peace be with you here.”
We may not touch your hands and side,
nor follow where you trod;
but in your promise we rejoice,
and cry, “My Lord and God!”
Help then, O Lord, our unbelief;
and may our faith abound
to call on you when you are near
and seek where you are found.
And when our life of faith is done,
in realms of clearer light
may we behold you as you are,
with full and endless sight.”
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong