Eastertide ~ Week 2

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“We’re all Thomas Now”

Easter - Week 2

Psalm 150Acts 5:27-32Revelation 1:4-8John 20:19-31

“We don't believe instead of doubting; we believe while doubting. We're all Thomas now."

These are the words of philosopher Charles Taylor, author of A Secular Age. At first, his words may seem cynical. Instead, they are descriptive. They describe faith in the 21st Century. Awash with religious and spiritual options, deluged with information about all subjects, and overwhelmed with spin and fake news, the notion of believing in the face of doubt should come as a relief. The presence of doubt does not destroy our belief. It may test our faith but it need not erode it.

While Taylor’s so called “Secular Age” is a relatively recent phenomenon it was not unforeseen. This week’s Gospel reading hints at it. John 20:19-31 tells the story of that most sympathetic of all the characters in the Bible. (At least to us 21st Century folk.) Thomas is that one person who shows up in every crisis and serves as the steady hand, the clear thinker, the designated driver. His friends say that Jesus has come back from the dead. But blessed Thomas, puts his feet down on the ground to steady himself because what they are saying is so unbelievable they must be crazy. Thomas’s disbelief is an expression of his concern for his friends.

Keep in mind, coming back to from the dead in the 1st Century was just as unbelievable as it is in the 21st. Those folks weren’t more easily fooled. Thomas is evidence of that. But, he is also evidence of great faith. When Jesus does appear to Thomas he becomes the first person ever to call Jesus, “My Lord and my God.”

Doubting Thomas is the first person to clearly proclaim the deity of Jesus. Lots of other people allude to it. Others may imply it. But, at the moment he sees Jesus, Thomas realizes in some way that he is also looking at God. Thomas the doubter is, at the same time, Thomas the pioneer of faith.

And Thomas’s encounter with the risen Christ provides the perfect platform for these words that should provide great comfort for all of us swimming through this secular age.

Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” ~ John 20:29, NLT

Modern, post-modern, or hyper-modern, Thomas clears a path for all of us who struggle with the doubts that come with faith.

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ's Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Paul Hill