I love Gerald Durrell ‘s books -which I devoured as a teenager. Not only did they feed my love of the natural world, they opened up the life and culture of a different country, and coloured the pages with the fascinating characters of his family and friends. One such person was his sister Margo who, as a single minded teenager, followed her heart and inclinations, causing all kinds of trouble and heartache for herself.
Like the time in Corfu Town, when the slippered feet of the Island’s patron Saint, St Spiridion, was on view for people to venerate by drawing close, touching, and kissing them. ‘Don’t kiss the feet!” cried her mother across the crowd, “Don’t kiss the feet, kiss the air!” Margo didn’t listen and, days later, she and the rest of the town went down with influenza.
In today’s gospel reading, perhaps the Apostles are, in their hearts, urging Thomas to do the opposite. They want him to see and touch Jesus, feel his wounded hands and side, as he said he needed to in order to believe. They want him, too, to share in the joy of the risen Lord. He hadn’t been with the other disciples a week earlier but now, here he was, and Jesus stands before him. On seeing Jesus, recognising him by his wounds, Thomas cries out in a profound credal statement, “My Lord and my God!” He is infectious with faith!
What if our faith was that infectious, inspiring others, and inflaming their hearts with joy in the Resurrection of Christ? We know all about the negative connotations of infections in this pandemic time. But other things can be infectious too – from yawning to laughing! How many people do we know with an infectious laugh which can spread through the room, and fill it with happiness. Imagine, then, the pandemic of love and joy that would spread if our faith was as infectious as that!
Lord God, with sorrow we pray, for our sins and the sins of the whole world. With thankfulness we pray for the saving death and resurrection of Jesus, who is Lord and King for ever and ever. Amen.