There’s an old cliché, I haven’t heard it much lately, but I’m sure it is still in use. It says, “seeing is believing”. I think that does a pretty good job of summing up who we are as a society. We are more heavily influenced by scientific method and the need for empirical evidence that we realize. We want to see, we want evidence, otherwise we remain skeptical. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, although it isn’t always a good thing either. So why give Thomas such a hard time? He hears a fantastic story, a story that all evidence tells him cannot possibly be true, and so he refuses to believe without empirical evidence. He wants to see, he wants to touch, he wants to know. When Jesus appears again, he invites Thomas, now present, to place his fingers in the nail marks, to place his hand in the wound on Jesus side, to do all he said he wanted to do in order to believe. Thomas, on just seeing, says “my Lord and my God”. Thomas sees and believes. He doesn’t even need to touch, seeing is enough. Jesus says “blessed are those have not seen and have believed”. We, all haughtily, puff ourselves up and say that’s me, I believe without seeing. Oh really? Too often, I fear, empirical evidence of our belief may be in short supply. We may go to Church, but do we take Church with us when we leave? Does the faith we profess, the believing without seeing we claim, inform our lives? We can claim to see without believing, but do our actions reflect that? Or does what we do make us seem as unbelieving as Thomas is accused of being? We may say that we do not see, but our actions may help others see. Others need to see Jesus in us. In our actions, in our lives, we must strive to reflect Jesus to those who otherwise may not see him. We need for others to see Jesus in us, so that we in turn may see Jesus, in them. To say that we believe without seeing is to deny the empirical evidence in front of us. We see Jesus everyday in the faces of the poor, the homeless, the refugees, our neighbor who may need our help. We, if we look, see Jesus there. When we act for them, when we help, when we pray, when we live for others, they see Jesus as well. When we live our belief they see Jesus in us. Then all of us can together turn to him and say “My Lord and My God”.
The Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle
July 3, 2007