THOMAS AND CO. On the 2nd Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday Pope Francis reflected on the message of Thomas to believers. “Thomas wants an extraordinary sign, to touch Jesus’ wounds. Jesus shows him in an ordinary way, in front of the other disciples. Jesus makes himself known in the community and shows this sign before them all. The community of believers should be the place where we seek the Lord too, not in spectacular, dramatic fashion.” Pope Francis stated, “Despite all its limitations and failures, which are our own limitations and failures, our Mother Church is the Body of Christ, and it is there that the greatest signs of His love can be found.” He invited those present to open their arms and show mercy to those wounded by life, each person like a brother or sister, accepting them as family. MARFAM’S April theme is GOD AND FAMILY. But it is also God is Family, the Trinity being a model family, the first community of love. Our family relationships can be built around those two aspects as we go through our lives, learning the lessons of life and love.
A Family Poem
O Thomas we have seen the Lord,
The friends of Jesus said,
He came in here while you were out
He’s risen from the dead.
But Thomas said, It can’t be true ,
It really cannot be
I won’t believe until he comes
And shows himself to me.
Soon after Jesus came again
And Thomas touched his side
My Lord and God,l now I believe,
I love you, Lord, he cried.
Then Jesus smiling said, “you’ve seen
And so you trust in me
But how I love all those who trust
Although they do not see.
A Family story. “BLESSED ARE THEY WHO HAVE NOT SEEN AND YET BELIEVED”
All children are inquisitive, but really all Tommy ever seemed to say was, “Why, why, why?” That was how he got the nickname Tommy “show-me” McLeod. His parents and teachers admired his bright mind and encouraged him even though he often frustrated them. He passed through school with flying colours and went on to study science at university where his exceptional skills and talents as a logical thinker gave him the edge over many other students.
After their marriage when he and Leila started a family they were shocked when Tommy jnr was diagnosed with hemophilia. As he grew they watched over him carefully, keeping him out of harm’s way without trying to constrict his little life, but there were times when accidents occurred and by the age of seven he had had two blood transfusions. They could not understand what was wrong when young Tommy became ill with a strange unknown disease. Tests and investigations at first failed to pinpoint the cause. Eventually it was discovered that through a blood transfusion with contaminated blood he had become infected with HIV. He became weaker and the stress and trauma in the family became almost unbearable. They were fighting each other, battling with God, “Why, why, why?” Tom yelled at God.
The eight-year old was alone with his father in hospital one night. Having watched his father’s agitation and desperation he asked, “Are you frightened, dad?” “Of course son, aren’t you?” he replied.
With a wisdom far beyond his years Tommy answered. “I’ve lived with the knowledge for a long time that I’ll never grow up to be like other boys, but when the pain was really bad I used to lie in fear and panic and wonder and pray. Then one night Jesus came to me and stood by my bed. He looked sad and yet so glorious. There were these sores on his hands, but his eyes were shining. He said to me, “You love your father, like I love mine and I had a task to do for my dad. You too have a task. Help your father to understand that God’s ways are not his ways. Ask him to believe that in spite of everything that happens he must trust in my love so that his heart can be at peace.’ Tommy continued, “Dad I am happy to go to God. Please believe me.”
Twenty years later Tom McLeod received a special award for exceptional achievement in medical research. He had made the break-through that led to the discovery of a vaccine against HIV. Although anti-retroviral drugs had been developed over the years but there was at yet no vaccine to prevent the disease. His discovery was hailed to be the miracle discovery of the time. At the award ceremony Thomas “show me” Mcleod gave a brief address. “The greatest moment in my life,” he said, “was learning a lesson from dying son that has inspired, encouraged and guided me through the years of research that have followed. This small boy on his way to heaven taught me this great truth. “Happy are they who have not seen and yet believe.”
REFLECTION. To reflect on this story consider how each individual deals with something too hard to believe or that they do not wish to accept or do? What can be learned from the Thomas story and Pope Francis’ message for us in our families and world today? Family Weekly newsletter 19 April 2023.