Sherry Antonetti is a freelance writer, blogger and published author of The Book of Helen. She lives just outside of Washington, DC with her husband and their ten children.
My eighth-grade son came to me worrying about whether he gets enough understanding to be confirmed. He’s struggled with finding a confirmation sponsor for fear of making a mistake. I explained, “You will make mistakes. You will not know enough, but it’s never about knowing enough. It’s about being willing to pursue a relationship with God, and knowing you cannot exhaust your knowledge on God because God is infinite.”
Thank God for the apostle Thomas. He’d been with Jesus for three years, he’d seen the multiplying of the loaves, he’d seen the catching of the fishes, the raising of Lazarus, the healing of the blind man, and of many others of their wounds, and the forgiveness of their sins. Yet he remained skeptical. Thomas’ doubt and witness makes sure we know that Jesus isn’t a ghost. He gives us, what is a likely response by any of us to the incredible message, impossible for anyone but God. “You know that guy we loved, who we saw crucified by the Romans, who we saw whipped and beaten and who we buried in a cave with a sealed stone over the opening? We saw Him. We met Him. He’s alive.” That’s an absurd claim by anyone about anyone. It’s an insane claim by anyone about anyone, according to all that we know about reality… unless it’s true.
In which case, it’s incredible. Thomas puts his hand in Jesus’ side, and in the wounds. Jesus lets him get that close. The even more amazing thing is, Jesus invites each of us to get that close. We worship a touchable God, who lets us enter into His life through the wounds. Even better, He invites us each day again.
We hold Jesus on our fingertips, just like Thomas, when we prepare to receive. We profess that Christ is present in the Holy Eucharist just as we profess, “He is risen.” Both remain incredible, and miraculous manifestations of Christ’s identity, and His mercy. Both require of us, a bowing of the head, a recognition that God is, and God is bigger than our understanding, more loving than we ever dare.
The whole purpose of Confirmation is to say, “My Lord and My God,” in response to Christ’s invitation to friendship, and to then go and reveal that relationship to others who will respond and to be witness to those blessed who do not see and believe. We assured our son it would be all right, that he need not worry about making a mistake and I got my own witness of that reality in his relieved smile at the news. “Who are you going to pick for a sponsor?” I asked. “Still don’t know, but I will soon.”
Tune in next week when the disciples act decisively… and hopefully my son does too.