Posted on Apr 17, 2021

18 April 2021

While I was at Newman we always had two priest until the last six years.

My ass. pastor was in charge of the RCIA—the process of introducing people to the Catholic faith. 

When he was pulled and I was alone I had to find someone to do that job.

I asked a parishioner to help us out by doing some teaching–and run the program.

She was an incredibly good and bright and gifted teacher.

And yet, when I asked her, she hesitated.

Her first reaction was, “No, I can’t do that.”

She went on, “It’s not that I won’t do that, I can’t do that. 

This is important, people’s souls are at stake. 

I could say the wrong thing and a person would run away from God, the church.”

I was struck by two things.

First, her intuitive sense that religiosity is important–life and death important.

Religiosity isn’t an add-on if there is any time left over.

Second, what I believe is her incorrect intuition,

that you can actually argue people into believing or not believing.

I don’t think I’ve ever convinced someone to believe in God, or Jesus, or the Spirit.

John Henry Cardinal Newman believed that even very committed people have moments of doubt and absence of faith.  He said: “It is as foolish to argue men into believing as it is to torture them into it.”

When Jesus appears to the disciples in the gospel today, the questions he asks them are important.

“Why are you troubled?

“Why do you have questions in your hearts?”

No one convinced me to believe in Jesus.

People throughout my life introduced me to him, helped me get to know him,

helped me to get to know his living body the church.

I’m not here because someone scientifically convinced me to believe,

but because I have come to know the Lord.

In response to their questioning hearts Jesus says, “It is I myself.”

And it’s only after that, that he reminds them of what he had said before,

and explained the scriptures to them.

In the end none of us are drawn here by dogmas.

Dogmas may help us make sense out of what we believe, but they do not convince us of anything.

It’s a touching moment, when Jesus tells the disciples he’s hungry.

He’s never hungry any other time during his ministry.

What’s he really hungry for at that moment?