Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
~ John 20:28-31
Among of the joys of hiking are the many surprises of exquisite beauty and magnificence splendor I find along the way. Peering through the thick overgrowth along the hiking trail, I see this dainty little flower. Making a turn around the bend and I am greeted by a breath-taking vista. Looking up in the sky while taking a breather, I see a majestic eagle in flight. Life indeed is full of surprises, a reflection of the God of surprises who created it all.
In the beginning, there are chaos and the void. “Let there be light!” He said. And there was. A burst of energy so mighty, everything else that there is simply followed after. Then, there was matter, and stars, and galaxies, and planets. And then there was water, and tress, and living things, and finally man himself. And then there clans, and then town, and then tribes, and then cities, and then nations. Surprises at every turn.
Mary was surprised by the man dressed in white at the tomb who turned out to be Jesus. Peter and the other disciples were surprised at the shore where a man had prepared a breakfast for them. Thomas was surprised when the Risen Lord appeared once again to the twelve just for Thomas to see His wounds. And the two disciples were surprised how their hearts were burning as a stranger walked with them on the rod to Emmaus.
Last Monday, I was with my former classmates, two of who are now priests, and I was surprised how the Risen Lord joined us around the altar table as we celebrated the Eucharist. I felt His presence and I broke down in tears.
Last night, some of the former students of Anabelle organized a heart-warming, memories-laden get together of their class – 7Xavier, Class 1999 from the Ateneo Grade School. It is amazingly surprising how Xavier has played a major role in our lives. Anabelle and I met while we were both teaching in Xavier School. Among our happiest years together were those we spent in Xavierville, living in a condo in Xavier Row. And today, we will be spending the day and go on a road trip with our former neighbors there, now life-long friends. And then end the day with a dinner with our former colleagues, now also lifelong friends, from Xavier School. How can you beat that surprising serendipity.
God appears when least expected. He comes when least anticipated. But when He does, it is too obvious not to see it. Thomas doubted as I often do. But the Risen Lord had a special surprise in store for him. As He does for me – always, often.