Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Seeing is believing ... or is it?

     There was a time that when you mentioned the name Thomas you thought of the Apostle, the doubter ... and not the train.  Today is the universal feast honoring the Apostle to India, the companion of Jesus, the doubter of the resurrection, the "I'm from Missouri guy - show me!"  The account of Thomas' experience of the resurrected Lord is recorded in John.  "Unless I see ..." Thomas says, "I will not believe."  And when he does see Jesus, he is invited to not only see but to touch, to experience the physical contact and the inner joy, to be lifted up and at peace.  Anxiety and worry are replaced with the first gift that the Lord offers his closest friends - PEACE!

     The words of Thomas are words that I remember being taught to me at a very early age, at least by first communion.  When I see the host raised, before I receive Holy Communion, when in the presence of God, I still say "My Lord and my God!"  Notice the exclamation point ... this is said in awe, this is not routine.

     But the most powerful words that Jesus spoke in John's account are what follows.  "Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."  My friends, that includes us - you and me.  And that is what belief is all about.  Not the absolute certainty of holding or touching or seeing or experiencing a reality, but the confident assurance that comes from trust in a promise given, in a word spoken, in a truth revealed.  So the old saying "seeing is believing" is not always true.  And why not?  Because as Saint Paul reminds the Ephesians, we are strangers and sojourners no longer but are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

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