“Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with [Jesus].“” (John 11:16)
We begin today with these rather ominous words from Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples. Yes, it’s the same Thomas who became better known for his doubting episode after the resurrection (John 20). In this scene, he was responding to Jesus’ announcement that they were going to head back into Judea where Jesus’ opponents had recently tried to kill Him.
“Let us also go, that we may die with him“, says Thomas. I assume he was being sarcastic rather than heroic. Either way, he was being prophetic. Heading back towards the centre of political and religious power would indeed put Jesus on a collision course with the authorities – a collision that Jesus would not survive.
In the way John tells his Gospel, Jesus started on this collision course right back in chapter two, with the first of His ‘signs’. It was the changing of water into wine at the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-12). When Jesus’ mother presented her son with the problem – that the bride and groom had run out of wine – Jesus’ response seemed curt – “Woman, why do you involve me? My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4). Evidently though, Jesus saw even then that it was these miraculous ‘signs’ that were going to get Him into trouble.
The raising of Lazarus – the focus of this week’s reading – is the seventh of the seven signs that John records, and indeed, it leads directly to the religious authorities determining to have Jesus killed. “Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” (John 11:47-48)
What strikes me here is that Jesus wasn’t killed by mistake. It wasn’t like the death of Socrates, who was charged with impiety and the corruption of youth, both of which were ridiculous charges that the Athenians quickly came to regret. Jesus was targeted as a threat to the political and religious establishment, which He was, and so, ironically, it was His wonderful miracles (signs) that inspired people to kill Him!
I find disturbing parallels within my own experience – that it’s often been the best things that I have done that have earned me the most hatred. It was my opening up of our church premises to drug-addicted young people back in the 1990’s that had me receiving death threats from others in the community. It was my open inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the church congregation that led to me now being unemployed. Looking back, should I have acted more judiciously?
“Thomas … said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him”(John 11:16). As I say, whether Thomas was being sarcastic or heroic, he was being prophetic. Following Jesus takes us to places where we did not want to go, doing things that we did not want to do, alongside people that we never wanted to meet! There may indeed be rewards in Heaven but much of what we do for Jesus down here is thankless work, more likely to result in us getting killed than crowned.
Perhaps it doesn’t matter what Thomas’ attitude was when he said, “Let us also go”. What matters is that he went!
Our Sunday Eucharist
We had another wonderful Sunday Eucharist last weekend, with Karyn and Sam joining us live, and Father Ola joining us via the magic of pre-recorded video.
This week we welcome Doug Pyeatt and Andrew Madry to the panel, and Father Elias Lleyds, who will be taking us on anther stroll around the Netherlands as he gives us a reflection on the Gospel reading.
Join us this Sunday at midday via www.thesundayeucharist.com or via your favourite social media platform: Facebook , YouTube, Twitter or LinkedIn. or Telegram
Let me work your corner
Thank you once again to all of you who support Fighting Fathers Ministries through your prayers and through monthly financial contributions. If you’re not contributing financially and you can afford to, please go to Patreon.com and sign up to either:
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- Friday, March 24th to Sunday, March 26th – @Binacrombi.
Join me for the weekend and grow in your physical and spiritual fitness
- Sunday, March 26th– Our Eucharist from midday @ thesundayeucharist.com or via Facebook , YouTube, Twitter or LinkedIn. or Telegram
- Tuesday, March 28th – Boxing from 6.30 pm @The Fight Lab
- Thursday, March 30th – Boxing from 6.30 pm @The Fight Lab
- Saturday, April 1st – Boxing from 3.00 pm @The Fight Lab
- Saturday, April 29th – Down the Rabbit HoleBall @The Epping Club.
I’m hoping for a couple of quiet days at Binacrombi this weekend though I’ve been given predictions of hailstorms and floods. Either of these though is a welcome alternative to the fires that have been threatening us. If you’re able to summon up your courage (and a 4-wheel drive) to join us, you will be very welcome.😊
I want to develop my BLEST training program over the coming weeks at Binacrombi:
Join me and help me work out how we can best share our insights in each of these key areas of physical and spiritual health. Let me know that you’re coming via email or call us on 1800 620 706, or connect via Facebook , YouTube, Twitter or LinkedIn. or Telegram
Oh, how the mighty have fallen!
Let me conclude today with a brief word of tribute to a dear brother who left us for glory this week – my friend, John Cook.
John was a teacher, and a legend in our state education system throughout his working life, helping to set the Higher School Certificate papers for maths. After formally retiring, he went on to help the Catholic school system with their maths program and was then called to the Pacific Islands to help the people there get their education system in order. He was a true expert in his field.
I got to know John in 2001 through our common interest in the American Civil War. We met through the American Civil War Roundtable of NSW, but it wasn’t long before John was working alongside me in Dulwich Hill as a volunteer maths tutor and general assistant in our youth drop-in centre. Few of our young people appreciated the years of work John put in, and I don’t think any of them realised the academic calibre of the man who spent so many hours with them, week after week.
When things went pear-shaped for me at the church, John was one fo the few who stood by me. After the death of our friend, Walter, he tried to take over in helping me with the Fighting Fathers Ministries book-keeping duties. Sadly, his failing health never allowed him to accomplish what he had hoped to in that area.
Joy and I arrived at the hospital just after John died last Monday. We nonetheless anointed him with oil and said prayers of committal, as he would have wished. This world is a poorer place for John’s passing. I will miss you very much, my friend.
P.S. If you haven’t yet purchased tickets to our fundraiser – the Down the Rabbit Hole Ball, scheduled for Saturday, April 29th, please do so ASAP. Read the wonderful article about it, put together by Andrew, here. Book at Trybooking.com
About Father Dave Smith
Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four