How often have we heard or said the words “I’ll believe it when I see it” or “the proof is in the pudding”? It could be related to a job offer or a house closing or even a relative showing up on time to a birthday party. We have to see it to believe it! I even felt this way with the birth of our first born child. Even though I had seen the ultrasound pictures and felt his fetal movements throughout the pregnancy, I didn’t truly grasp the fact that I was going to be a parent until I looked in our son’s beautiful eyes and held his sweet soft skin next to mine. Only at that moment did I know that I was a mom and that I would love this child forever.
In this week’s Gospel reading, Thomas, one of Jesus’ 12 apostles, is full of doubt. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He had appeared to the other apostles, but Thomas had not been in the room to see the risen Jesus. When they tell him of Christ’s appearance to them, he says his famous Doubting Thomas line of “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25). Thomas had to see it to believe it. Did he question because he lacked faith or was it because he longed to deepen his faith in and understanding of the Risen Christ? It may have been a little bit of both. In order for us to believe in something, questioning is both a natural and often necessary part of developing our belief system. From this week’s Bringing Home the Word, Diane Houdek gives great insight into how doubt is often necessary in deepening our faith. She states “Doubt seems to be an inescapable, perhaps even necessary part of our human existence. Taken to extremes, we become cynical and blind to any reality beyond the physical. But without a healthy sense of skepticism, we find ourselves swayed by unrealistic promises and led astray by deals ‘too good to be true.’ Doubt can lead us to question, to reflect, to understand reality at a deeper level. Faith isn’t so much the opposite of doubt as it is the flowering of our understanding, our recognition of a mystery unfolding before us. If doubt is as much a part of us as original sin, faith is that gift and grace that we receive in baptism. It’s not the end of all questioning. It’s rather the peace that fills our hearts when we rest in God’s presence.”
According the Gospels, a week later, Jesus again appeared to the disciples, this time with Thomas present. Jesus turned to Thomas and said “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.” Only then does Thomas answer Jesus and say to him, “My Lord and my God!” Thomas had a deep revelation at that moment, knowing fully and completely that Jesus Christ was the Risen Lord. But what about all of us today and throughout history? We have not been able to put our hands in Jesus’ nail marks or touch His side, but we are called to believe not based necessarily on what we have seen, but on what Jesus places on our hearts as truth. Jesus says to Thomas and says to all believers throughout time “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” (John 20: 27-29)
Doubt is a natural emotion, one that God knows we will all go through from time to time. But when we sit quietly with the Lord, wholeheartedly asking our tough questions and allowing Him to answer, our faith can and will blossom into a beautiful relationship of trust and deeper understanding of God’s love for us.
For meditation: In what areas of your life are you experiencing doubt? Sit quietly with the Lord and ask Him your tough questions. Allow His grace to give you clarity and insight, eliminating your doubts. Lay all of your doubts and fears at the foot of Jesus’ cross and listen to the song “Walk By Faith” (CLICK HERE).
Written By Amy Connelly for the Our Lady Queen of Angels Mom's Group
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