Prior to lockdown-life, Thursday night was curry night. My parents and I would jump in the car and head off to our favourite Indian restaurant. Up until recently a fairly new young waiter worked there. He’d been trying his best, but he kept having some unfortunate incidents: one included two glasses of wine being thrown over us. We never minded and always made light of it. He seemed a good guy and we couldn’t fault him for effort. It got to the point where he couldn’t meet the standard and the owner of the place, with a heavy heart, had to let him go. This, of course, is the way of the world: don’t meet the expectation and you’re out, even when the standard gets harder and harder—it’s all dog-eat-dog remember.
Now, which early disciple met the standard: Peter? Thomas? We’ve a few tales to tell about their mistakes. I’d imagine most bosses would let them go. Not Jesus however, despite all their failures, he affirms that, ‘They have kept your word,’ and continues with how they have received and believed. He knows Peter will deny him. He knows Thomas will question. Yet, without hesitation, he prays for them and affirms their place as his own. Of course, it is the same for us. We are his, not by what we do, but by opening our heart to receive him. With all our mistakes, our doubts, our inabilities, we belong to him and he will hold onto us because he is faithful. Moreover, those we know around us are his: however peculiar they seem, however much we don’t agree with them, however they express their faith. They are his too. As Jesus is one with the Father, so we are one with him and with each other. It is our serious task to love one another, just as he as loved us: by this will the world know we are his disciples.