The Friday Thought - Confronting our doubts is a vital part of our faith

I met up with friends last Friday night which was welcome opportunity to catch up.

Unless you make deliberate plans to spend time with people, friendships can drift. On this occasion it was nearly a year since we had met up.

As usual, the allure of a Chinese takeaway was too much to resist and we spent most of the evening chatting and catching up.

I have to confess I was distracted for most of the first hour because my attention was caught up in the Derry City match which was live on television.

It worked out well because as the men sat engrossed watching the match the women of the house decided to collect the food.

The father of the family, even though he is slightly older than the rest was entrusted with heating the plates in the oven.

So when the chicken curry with fried rice and chips, not to mention a small portion of chow mein arrived I was delighted.

I claimed my plate forgetting that my hands weren’t made of asbestos.

I don’t know how long the plates were in the oven but it took all my will power not to cry out and only the thought of having to starve made me hang on for dear life.

In the end I had to use a cushion to avoid being burnt although it had the positive effect of shortening the distance between my dinner and my mouth.

One of the daughters teaches in a behavioural unit in one of the local secondary schools.

She loves the experience and the challenge of working with young adults. It appeals to her outgoing nature and her sense of fun and adventure.

Of course in life every day is a school day and some of the things we take for granted aren’t always apparent or self evident for other generations with different backgrounds and upbringing.

A lot of what we presume to be common knowledge can be new territory for others.

In recent weeks with the resignation of Pope Benedict generated a lot of interest and debate.

As a Church we had entered unfamiliar waters, the impact had been much discussed.

One of the critical issues in the young teacher’s classroom was the question; if the Pope retired due to ill health would he qualify for the DLA?

If I had been in the classroom I’m not sure how I would have answered this moral dilemma.

On another occasion the class was being prepared for the events of Lent.

The teacher had warned the children that Ash Wednesday was a fast day and to bear this in mind when going to the canteen.

An hour later she met her disgruntled class standing in the queue outside the canteen.

From the queue a hand was raised and nervously the teacher tries to anticipate any possible question.

The student asks in a forthright and very serious manner ‘Miss you said today was a fast day in the canteen but it’s just as slow as any other!’

We might think we’re saying one thing but people hear another. The mystery of the Easter faith has been open to many interpretations even amongst Jesus’ intimate disciples.

The tomb on Easter Sunday morning is a place of confusion, fear, uncertainty and anxiety.

The apostles and Jesus’ closest companions may have heard much of what Jesus taught and preached but they never fully understood.

Only in the light of the Resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit do we begin to fully appreciate the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus.

God has certainly bought his followers into a new land, new possibilities and a new hope.

Sin and death have been confronted and defeated and this victory is gifted to those who believe in Jesus Christ.

The witness and experience of the early Christian community is vital to our understanding of the faith.

In the gospels and the New Testament books we listen to the struggles and misunderstandings which follow after Jesus has risen from the death. These same doubts and anxieties will remain with every generation of disciple.

The figure of Thomas has been much maligned and castigated because he dared to question and doubt.

Yet confronting our doubts is a vital part of our faith.

Real faith is a journey as we struggle to comprehend the mystery at the heart of our faith, the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Faith is more than a feeling, it a commitment to God, an openness to God’s presence.

It involves the courage and the generosity to surrender our lives following in the path of discipleship.

Faith doesn’t equal certainty otherwise there would be no room for the leap of trust which is required to allow God to guide and lead us into places and circumstances where normally we would rather not go. Faith is a personal relationship with the Risen Christ who encourages all people to grow and change until we reflect the face of Christ to one another.

In our faithfulness and in our generosity in meeting the needs or one another we witness to God’s presence, every time we die to ourselves we proclaim Christ has risen.