DO NOT BE UNBELIEVING BUT BELIEVE
The figure of Thomas as the disciple who refuses to believe has been very popular among Christians. The Gospel account, however, says much more about this skeptical disciple. The Risen Jesus addresses him with some words that are associated with an urgent call, and with a loving invitation, too: Do not be unbelieving, but believe. Thomas, who has refused to believe for a week, responds to Jesus with the most solemn confession of faith that we could ever read in the Gospels: My Lord and my God.
What has this disciple experienced in the Risen Jesus? What is it that has transformed this man, doubting and hesitant until then? What inner journey has brought him from skepticism to trust? What is surprising is that, according to the account, Thomas gives up on touching Jesus’ wounds in order to verify the truth of the resurrection. What opens him to faith is Jesus himself with his invitation.
All of us have changed much inside over the years. We have become more skeptical, but also more fragile. We have become more critical, but also more insecure. Each one of us has to decide how we want to live and how we want to die. Each one of us has to respond to that call which, sooner or later, whether unexpected or whether a fruit of an inner process, comes to us from Jesus: Do not be unbelieving, but believe.
Maybe we need to awaken more our desire for truth, to develop that inner sensibility we all have to perceive the presence of the Mystery that sustains our lives, beyond the visible and tangible. It is no longer possible for us to live as people who know everything. It is not true. All of us, believers and nonbelievers, atheists and agnostics, walk through life enveloped in darkness. As Paul of Tarsus says, we seek God groping for him.
Why do we not face the mystery of life and death, trusting in Love as the ultimate Reality of all? This is Jesus’ decisive invitation. More than one believer today feels that faith has become something increasingly unreal and unsubstantiated. I do not know. Maybe now that we can no longer find support for our faith in false securities, we are learning to seek God with a more humble and sincere heart.
We should not forget that any person who sincerely seeks and desires to believe is already, as far as God is concerned, a believer. Often, there is not much more we can do. God, who understands our powerlessness and weakness, has his ways of meeting people and offering them his salvation.
April 3, 2016
2 Easter (C)
Jn 20, 19-31