Faith Comes from the Word that is Heard
One of the most inspirational traits of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is his capacity to transform any kind of situation into opportunity to teach the wisdom of the Kingdom of God. The doubt expressed by the Apostle Thomas in the Gospel of this day is something that could be easily understood. A week before this encounter between Jesus and Thomas was the day of the Resurrection of the Lord. The passion and the cruel death of Jesus have left among the disciples a taste of disappointment and embarrassment which would persist even after a number reported appearance of the Lord (cf. the encounter on the road to Emmaus in Lk 24: 13-34).
Disappointment, doubt and bewilderment prevailed among the disciples before Jesus appeared to them. His transformed existence, however, brought them the grace of the resurrection, breaking down the walls that imprisoned them into inaction. First of all, Jesus "destroyed" the walls of his tomb, setting himself from the power of death. Secondly, he did the same act of liberation for his fearful disciples who "imprisoned" themselves in the Cenacle. Thomas was not there and so he remained in the cloud of unbelief and the shackles of doubt. When told of their encounter, Thomas asserted conditions for his own assent of faith. The Gospel today relates the personal encounter the Lord had with Thomas. It was the turn of Thomas to receive the healing power and the peace of the Resurrection of Jesus.
From this encounter between the Lord and Thomas all the generations of believers have gained two major revelations:
- Through Thomas who in spite of the witnessing of his fellow disciples did not open himself to the Good News, Jesus is teaching us that those who believe out of what is proclaimed are blessed. Saint Paul put it in another way: “faith comes from what is heard” (Rom 10:17). The most important grace we need in our relationship with God is how to listen to him. We are living in an era of communication and the today’s Gospel is a challenge for us, who are so prompt to speak a lot without really listening enough. Our prayer is a reply to God’s word and love, do we take time to listen?
- Thomas' profession of faith before the Lord who was only Master for him some weeks ago indicated his triumph over doubt through an inner struggle, ending in a profound expression, “My Lord and my God!” This profession has become a prayer many generations of Christians have repeated over and over again up to now.
Jesus, our Lord and our God!