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
Doubt, often viewed negatively, possesses an intrinsic value that can be explored through philosophical and theological perspectives. Some philosophical schools advocate for the questioning of all knowledge obtained through the senses, emphasizing doubt as a crucial aspect of the pursuit of knowledge. In a theological context, sacred Scripture portrays instances where God tolerates doubt and uses it as a means for individuals to attain knowledge. This aligns with the Persian Proverb that claims “Doubt is the key to knowledge.” Hence, doubt precedes the acquisition of knowledge, and within the realm of Christianity, doubt can precede faith. It is through the example of St. Thomas, the Apostle, that we witness doubt engaging with faith, ultimately leading to his profound profession of belief in Christ as “My Lord and my God.” This encounter serves as a foundation of our faith, highlighting the indispensable role of doubt.
As we commemorate the feast of St. Thomas, it prompts us to evaluate and reaffirm our faith in Jesus Christ. St. Gregory the Great asserts that Thomas’ doubt was instrumental in strengthening our faith. Through Thomas’ doubt and subsequent encounters with Jesus, our own minds are liberated from doubt, enabling us to establish ourselves firmly in faith. The Gospel of St. John, presented today, invites us to embark on a journey that leads to an empowering experience of faith in the Risen Jesus. Jesus engages Thomas in a process that traverses doubt, guiding him to a definitive act of faith by inviting him to physically touch His wounds. Thomas, obedient to Jesus’ instruction, reaches a point of unwavering conviction and exclaims, “My Lord and my God!” The beatitude proclaimed by Jesus, “Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe,” is directed towards us, who, through a journey of faith and complete surrender, arrive at a profound encounter with the resurrected Christ. The first reading emphasizes that, through this encounter, we become “citizens like all the saints and part of God’s household.” In essence, our doubts engaging with our faith enable us to become integral parts of a spiritual edifice, with the apostles, prophets, and Christ Himself as our foundations.
Dear friends in Christ, doubt holds significance as it urges us to challenge the status quo, confront and conquer our fears, reassess our beliefs to embrace deeper convictions, reflect on our personal narratives seeking glimpses of hope, pose new inquiries, and search for fresh answers. In a similar vein, Thomas’ response to doubt arose from his willingness to contemplate the wounds and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, leading to his profound expression of faith as “My Lord and my God!” May our contemplation of the most poignant symbol of our Saviour’s love inspire us to cultivate a resolute, unwavering, robust, and evangelistic faith. Above all, let us recognize that Thomas, despite his doubts, made a conscious decision to transition from doubt to faith, skepticism to trust, and fear to the courageous commitment of martyrdom for the beliefs he had embraced.
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© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Loreto, Vila Medeiros, São Paulo, Brazil
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