Educating for the Lived Gospel #140

Thomas answered Jesus, ‘My Lord and my God!’ (John 20:28)

Through the centuries, the term ‘doubting Thomas’ has not been used kindly. But who of us, put in the same situation, would believe that their dead friend had risen, without some doubt? I put it to you that more important than Thomas’ doubt is his faith. Saying ‘my Lord and my God’ is one of the fullest proclamations of faith in Jesus in John’s Gospel. And so we have affirmed again that doubt can be part of the faith journey.

The world that young people live in is not always conducive to faith. Access to so much information and so many competing faith stances and ideologies makes affirming one choice difficult. We cannot force the grace that is needed for faith. We can build relationships with the young, we can model our faith, and we can provide opportunities for prayer and worship. The rest is in God’s hands.

Have a great week!

Educating for the Lived Gospel #129

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.’ (John 20:29)

Living our Easter faith is not always easy, as the early Christians found. Many of us will have had our ‘doubting Thomas’ moments! So, how do we deal with such doubting moments? Do we engage in negative self-talk OR should we, rather, see doubt as part of the journey of faith, a gradual unfolding? Maybe it is a matter of an ‘on balance’ judgment. ‘On balance’ do we mostly believe and have small amounts of doubt?

Our Catholic schools, our Catholic communities, have a very different shape to the past. It is my contention that it is easier to believe when you are immersed in a believing community. This is not the case for a significant number of the young people in our care. As educators, we can assure young people that doubt is part of the faith journey. Being aware of the cultural forces at work, we must also be intentional in our efforts to promote Catholic identity – providing young people with as much of the breadth of our tradition as we can. And leave the rest up to God.

Have a great week…and term!

Educating for the Lived Gospel #111

I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed. (Luke 1:3-4)

This passage, taken from the prologue of Luke’s Gospel, tells us that this Gospel builds upon the work of another Gospel, is based on eyewitness accounts and is designed for those people who have already been taught about Jesus. When we look more closely at the Greek text, an alternate translation is ‘so that you may be assured of the well-foundedness of the teaching that you have received’. If they needed to be assured, they may have had doubts. If they had doubts about 50 years after the death of Jesus, it is OK for us to have doubts, too.
Assuring young people that their doubts can be part of a faith journey is an important message. Many of us want certainty – but it is not called ‘a leap of faith’ for nothing!
Have a great week!