O ‘NECESSARY DOUBT’ OF SAINT THOMAS!
First Reading: Ephesians 2:19-22
Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 116(117):1-2
Gospel Reading: John 20:24-29
We tend to often see doubt as a negative thing, but intrinsically, it is not often the case. A philosophical school of thought is of the opinion that in the pursuit of knowledge, we should not only trust the knowledge we obtain through our senses but that if it is possible, we should doubt everything. Sacred Scripture reveals that God, sometimes, tolerates the doubting man, and enables him to attain knowledge through such a medium. This attests to the veracity of the Persian Proverb: “Doubt is the key to knowledge.” Needless to say, doubt precedes knowledge. Importing this idea into our Christian parlance, it would not be out of place to say that doubt precedes faith. In fact, faith that has not first wrestled with doubt may not be faith at all. This we see in the person of St. Thomas, the Apostle, whose doubt wrestled with his faith, leading to his profession of faith in Christ: “My Lord and my God”; and this has come to serve as the basis of our faith. Thanks to the necessary doubt of St. Thomas!
Celebrating the feast of St. Thomas today calls us to evaluate our faith in Christ Jesus and reaffirm our trust and belief in Him. Thomas’ doubt, according to St. Gregory the Great, was “more useful to our faith than the faith of the believing disciples, while he is brought back to faith by touching, our minds are set free from doubt and established in the faith.” Taking advantage of the episode, today’s gospel according to St. John opens a new trail before us to arrive at the liberating experience of faith in the Risen Jesus. Here, Jesus invites Thomas to follow the search path through his doubt; and being docile to Jesus’ order (‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side…’) reaches a clear and convincing act of faith: “My Lord and my God!” The corresponding beatitude which Jesus proclaims (‘Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe’) is addressed to us who, following a journey of faith, in an attitude of complete abandonment, arrive at the risen Christ. Having been established on Christ, we become ‘citizens like all the saints, and part of God’s household,’ as expressed in today’s first reading. Put differently, when our doubts wrestle with our faith and leading us to believe firmly in Christ, we become ‘part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations and Christ Jesus himself for its main cornerstone.’
Dear friends in Christ, doubt is important because it helps you to challenge the status quo, to face and overcome your fears, to redefine the situation you once believed in order to believe more, to reflect on previous stories you’ve told yourself and search for the silver lining, to ask new questions, and to search for new answers. Likewise, Thomas’ answer to his doubt was as a result of his disposition to contemplating the open side and the Heart of Jesus, resulting to his profound expression of faith: “My Lord and my God!” May this very contemplation of the most expressive sign of our Saviour’s love lead us to a clear, determined, strong, and apostolic faith. Above all, Thomas doubted, but he decided to move from doubt to faith, from scepticism to trust, and from fear to the courage of giving up his life in martyrdom for what he had come to believe.
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Vila Sabrina, São Paulo, Brazil
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