1 John 5:1-6
St. John, known as the Evangelist, wrote to inspire the faith of others. In this Divine Mercy Sunday’s Gospel, John presents two encounters of the Apostle Thomas coming to embrace the Good News and believe. Turning to John 20:24-29, let us put ourselves into the Scripture, remembering we have all experienced “doubting-Thomas” moments.
“Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.”
Now, (insert your name here), one of the 1.2 billion was also not with them when Jesus came.
“So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
So many others have told of their profound experiences with Christ and how they have seen him working in their lives.
“But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
What is your unless? Unless Jesus removes this difficulty, fixes my finances, heals my loved one, eases my anxiety, or slows my aging, I will not believe. Where do you experience these Thomas moments when you so desperately want to believe but struggle to embrace what you cannot see? Moments when you are unable to rely on the witness of others to secure your heart in the truth.
“Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them.”
A week, eight days, the number associated with the Resurrection and joy. It is in this incredible encounter Thomas would come to see and believe for himself.
“Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.’”
Jesus offers Thomas an experience of the senses to see his hands, touch the wounds, hear Jesus’ voice calling him to leave doubt behind and trust. At that moment with Jesus, he can finally pronounce a prayer of acknowledgment and adoration with the words, “My Lord and my God!”
Don’t be faithless; Jesus says these same words to us. Come closer and put behind your fear and doubts, lean into his grace and mercy, and believe. Uttering out as a prayer the words of the father of the stricken boy in Mark 9:14-29, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”
“Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 153). A virtue of being certain without needing visible proof. One of the Cardinal Virtues, the others being hope and love. We know love is the greatest because when it is our time to stand before Jesus, we will no longer need faith or hope, but only love will remain. On this side of heaven, faith is essential, and God has provided each the exact amount they need. Our senses are engaged to help us see and believe through participation in the Sacraments of the Catholic Church.
Jesus said to him, ” Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
“Blessed,” according to the Didache Bible (Ignatius Press, p 1745), refers to ultimate happiness or a person in God’s grace. We who believe are those of whom Jesus spoke. We are the blessed who do not see yet believe. What a glorious place to be — standing in the grace of God. To proclaim, my Lord and my God, as a true testament of faith. To no longer be faithless but believing.