“Let us recover that faith and together build a better country.”
On the first day of the week after resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples who were huddled in a room with doors closed for fear of the Jews. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you,’ and, after saying this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.’ Thomas, called the twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord,’ but he answered, ‘Unless I can see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’After saying this he breathed on them and said: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained.’
Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you,’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving any more but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him: You believe because you can see me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.
“To see is to believe”. This is a common enough expression to signify that one only believes in something whose existence is supported by proof. Reason dictates that before one should believe he must be certain that a thing truly exists or that an event in fact occurred. To our finite mind, blind faith defies logic and the height of folly and mindlessness. This may sound reasonable for one cannot just repose one’s faith onto something without first making sure that it will not be a quixotic undertaking and that one’s efforts are not rendered futile. Thomas’ reaction to the news about the appearance of the risen Lord is human nature in full display. Yet God asks of us a different response to his call. He requires total faith and obedience, even when we do not encounter Jesus in the flesh. This is what sets us apart from atheists who do not believe in an invisible god.
One important tenet of the Catholic religion is that faith is both a gift and an acceptance. Christians are bestowed by God with the gift of faith not because we are superior to atheists and the unbelievers. Faith is a special grace granted to a person the reason for which, in his infinite wisdom, God alone knows. But this faith must be accepted and nurtured. Once the seed of faith is planted in our soul it is a spiritual obligation by the receiver not to let it wither or atrophy but to nourish it with prayer, good works, the sacraments, and avoidance of sin. Jesus taught us about the power of faith. So that by the gift of faith we are able to believe, and in our free will we choose to accept that gift and believe.
The Gospel tells us about the power of faith. On one occasion, the apostles ask Jesus: “Increase our faith!” The request indicates that faith is something that Jesus can give, rather than a choice we make to believe. Jesus responds by admonishing them to accept the gift of faith He has already given them, saying: “If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, ‘Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Faith involves a response to the gift, and the one who has faith must therefore serve and obey the one in whom he professes faith. This faith consists not only in believing that he exists but also in the belief that by doing so the receiver will be rewarded.
The power of this faith has attested by the example of so many martyrs, saints and countless men and women who over the centuries willingly suffered persecution, poverty, hunger and all sorts privation and even death in the belief that their faith in God will bring them eternal life which Jesus has promised. We need not be holy martyrs or saints to attest to the power of faith. Even us ordinary beings can demonstrate that belief in Jesus can give us strength, courage, and the ability to carry on despite well nigh unbearable trials. This is so because it is the spirit of Jesus that carries us through and not by our own power and devices.
We are often under the mistaken impression that faith in Jesus will give us an easy and enjoyable life. On the contrary, believing in Christ is to follow in his footsteps which is to carry the cross. It is when the path to Christ becomes narrow and rugged that we often become discouraged and lose faith. All these so that our faith will be tested. For in the end Jesus always keeps his promise, that he who keeps his faith shall be rewarded with eternal life. As the Book of Hebrew says, Hebrews says, And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
As we meditate on this passage of the Gospel, we should echo the prayer of the apostles: “Increase our faith!” Never for a moment doubt His love. And with God’s grace, let us keep our faith even in the most trying moments of our lives, even in times when God seems so invisible to us.
This coming elections, our faith will be tested. Many of us are afraid of its outcome. There is a doubting Thomas in all of us. But like Thomas, let us recover that faith and together build a better country.
Website: tonylavina.com Facebook: tonylavs Twitter and Instagram: tonylavs