Seeing isn’t always believing

Seeing isn’t always believing

Readings for the Second Sunday of Easter, Year B

We’ll never know if Thomas put his finger into Jesus’s nail marks or touched the open wound at his side. John’s gospel today never says he did, although many artists have rendered that intimate touch. I believe that in the end, Thomas did not need that kind of proof. His belief was immediate having seen and heard the resurrected Christ for himself.

Anyone who wasn’t around with those disciples back then does not have that luxury. As Henry Alford’s famous text describes, “No gracious words we hear / From him who spoke as none e’er spoke; / But we believe him near.”

Our disadvantage is actually our blessing. Since our faith does not depend on seeing proof of Jesus’s resurrected human body, we have been given the gift of seeing him in every body. Most especially, we are called to see him in the wounded and the despised of our world.

Pope Francis said, “The thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds…it needs nearness, proximity” (“A Big Heart Open to God,” America, 2013). If your faith is faltering and God feels distant, then turn to the one who is wounded. There, faith will abound, for there we will find the risen Christ and, with Thomas, confess, “My Lord, and my God.”

This post was first published on the planner page for the Second Sunday of Easter, Year B, in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal,” Vol 29, No 1.

Image credit: Gabriel Barletta, unsplash, CC0.

One Response

  1. ‘Don’ Bruno Martínez
    | Reply

    I like your insight Lady Diana. I see Saint Thomas as being unjustly saddled with the label of ‘doubting’. Thomas is written to have not believed his fellow Apostles and disciples. However, unlike ANYONE before him, as soon as he saw the Ressurected Jesus, he fell to his knees and said, “My Lord and my God”. There was no hesitation. I believe he is our greatest example of true faith. Every other disciple or Apostle who encountered the Resurrected Jesus to this point had to see or hear Him say or do something familiar. Thomas also knows exactly Who and What the Ressurected Jesus was. Not just our Teacher or Leader, but the Risen Lord, God Jesus Christ.

    I infact agree with you that those of us of True faith and your readers do have a deeper, more penetrating, active faith than people, really in centuries. I do not think it is easier though. I think we are more open to experiencing Christ, the whole Most Holy Trinity in fact, because our hearts, minds and souls are open to it. There is a reason that there is a wholesale departure from faith of Gen X and Millenials, though most still consider themselves to be Catholic.

    Sociologist will tell that one of the most base components of what makes Humans, humans, is an innate sense of curiosity. We can no more escape our own curiosity than we can breathing.

    Young Adults are not leaving Mass or the Church because they don’t necessarily believe. They are the product of Domestic Church that is fundamentally broken. They leave because they rarely, if ever, hear or see their parents witnessing or living their faith. Parents are now ‘helicopter’ parents, more concerned with being their children’s friend, getting to the right sports, clubs, what have you. My Godchildren have Sunday games. Never in life did I think that would happen. This is my greatest lesson as a Youth & Young Adult Minister. These teens and Young Adults aren’t interested in words, and they never will be again. They crave experience of the Holy, especially from the people closest to them.

    My favorite Jesuit exercise, until I do a 30 day silent Retreat, is asking the question, “Where have you seen Christ today?

    For all those adult and parent disciples who sort of feel connected to the Church. ‘I have to be married in the Church’, ‘My Kids must be Baptized in the Church’ and so one, we must take every opportunity to help them open their eyes, ears, minds, hearts and Souls to see and experience the Face of Christ, and in fact the entire Most Holy Trinity, everywhere and everyday. We have Marriage, Baptismal, First Eucharist, Confirmation Preparation and Parochial schools where we must catechize the parents as much as we do their children, with witness and testimony. So in their Domestic Church, they can witness and live their faith in front of and with their children, and then talk about it openly, ask, “where did you see the face of Christ today?”

    For me, and I suspect most of your readers we had this growing up. Grandmother and mom, not just teaching the True Canon of the Gospels & Acts, but by talking about it and including us in it. As sad as this is, while the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is very much the Source and Summit of our faith, that’s just not enough for teens and Young Adults these days. That’s why retreats are so very transformative AND often Conversion experiences.

    Brennan Manning once said, and I take it very much to heart, “The single greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the [church] door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an un believing world simply finds unbelievable.”

    These words are more true today than ever before. Conservative and other less than faithful to the Canon, Christian go to Church, come out and deny Christ in almost every day of their lives. Through hate, intolerance, bigotry, misogyny and lack of any connection of Service to Brothers and Sisters In Christ. The Beatitudes must baffle them.

    I think it long past time that we, workers in the vineyard, hand and feet of Christ, face of Christ to others, take a play from Thomas’ playbook, fall to our knees, and proclaim, loud, clear and in public way, this is my Lord & God Jesus, the Risen Christ.

    We are our actions, and how we explore them in a public way, for every generation from here until the Second Coming of our Savior & Redeemer Jesus Christ.

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