BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN AND YET BELIEVE (2)
(A biblical reflection on the Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle – Friday, 3 July 2015)
Gospel Reading: John 20:24-29
First Reading: Ephesians 2:19-22; Psalms: Psalm 117:1-2
Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in His side, I will not believe.”
Eight days later, His disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side; do not be faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” (John 20:24-29 RSV)
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” (John 20:29).
These words may sound like rebuke to Thomas. Yet perhaps they are a blessing for us: Blessed are those who have not actually seen Jesus but believe in Him anyway. Jesus Himself spoke these words as blessing on us, to encourage our faith in Him. Through His Spirit, He has equipped us with the faith we need, and His blessing calls us to exercise that faith, to believe without seeing. He calls us to put our faith in the redemption He won for us when He shed His blood on the cross.
Oh, that we would put our faith in that redemption! God can do so much with us if we surrender our lives to Him. What does that involve? It means doing what Thomas stumbled at – submitting our intellects to the truth God reveals, however He chooses to reveal it. Thomas was so accustomed to seeing Jesus work that he felt uncomfortable believing in Jesus when he couldn’t see Him. We too are accustomed to proceeding on the basis of what we can see; we like to have things make sense to us. But if we are willing to trust Jesus and believe His words, even when we do not understand them, what deliverance from sin we will experience! What comfort from the Father we will know! What reconciliation will spring up between individuals, even nations!
St. Teresa of Avila once prayed: “In Your majesty You seek all kinds of ways and means by which to show us the love that You have for us; yet we hold this in low esteem, inexperienced as we are in loving You. Through the lack of practice, our thoughts follow their usual pattern, and we do not trouble to ponder the great mysteries to be found in the way the Holy Spirit speaks to us. What more could He do to kindle our love for Him?”
With great anticipation, let’s accept the ways God chooses to show us His love! Let’s surrender our lives to Him, knowing that nothing can be greater than receiving His love!
Short Prayer: Lord Jesus, I love You. I worship You, who have conquered my every sin. In You, all is atoned for, all is forgiven. Glory to You, God of the impossible! Amen.
Jakarta, 2 July 2015
A Christian Pilgrim