So the other afternoon, the guy at the sandwich shop says to me, ‘Anybody ever tell you…you look like Tom Brokaw?’
I had to admit, that was a new one for me.
Once upon a time, I remember being mistaken for Bob Forsch, the late journeyman pitcher for the Cardinals (probably something that could only happen in a baseball-crazy town like St. Louis). And in my teenage wire-rim wearing days, some people used to say I favored John Denver a bit.
But Tom Brokaw? I just don’t see it (even when I do my best ‘this-is-serious-stuff-TV-news-anchor’ face).
Look-alikes are on my mind, I suppose, because we encountered one of scripture’s most famous “doubles” in Sunday’s gospel reading: Thomas, called Didymus.
The name means “twin.” And as I reflected on that tidbit, it struck me as odd that we don’t really hear about Thomas’ ‘Other’. Could it be that his sibling had absolutely no interest in Christ – the one to whom Thomas had dedicated his life? Who knows?
Then as I continued to ponder Thomas and his relationship with the Lord, another less-flattering nickname came to mind: Doubting Thomas. The one gently upbraided in this passage by the Lord himself: ‘Do not be unbelieving, but believe.’
The more I thought about that Thomas, the more I realized that I am, at times, his Twin: Wanting to believe, but not always succeeding. Wanting to deepen my relationship with the Risen One, but not always finding the capacity to grasp Christ’s new nature, Christ’s ‘now’ nature.
As I pondered this mystery – the two very different ‘Johns’ – that I can often be to myself, I kept getting drawn back to the Collect prayer we’d heard at the beginning of Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday.
…kindle the faith of the people You have made Your own;
increase, we pray, the grace You have bestowed,
that all may grasp and rightly understand
in what font they have been washed,
by whose Spirit they have been reborn,
by whose Blood they have been redeemed…
These gifts are not always easy to recognize and appreciate, are they?
When we are reborn, part of the old self tends to remain – at times, staring back at us in the mirror: Not an evil twin, exactly. But perhaps not fully redeemed either.
And yet there stands Christ, ever encouraging us (like his friend Thomas) to take the next step forward in faith.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy One.