Friday, July 3, 2009

Doubting Thomas

Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle

Doubting Thomas! Quite a descriptor "doubting" can be. How significant is this adjective (perhaps a participle for the grammarians among us)! Today, at least in our Catholic Church, doubting seems to have gained a position almost on par with the seven sacraments! Yes, this is a bold statement!

Stop and consider: when all is said and done what does it mean to doubt? In the world today many have seemingly abandoned belief in the realities behind some of the sacraments: Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist; Jesus giving forgiveness in Reconciliation.

Doubting used to be considered somewhat near scandal. Some would only whisper their doubts or disbelief. Today it is almost a personal declaration of independence to state doubt about the Real Presence, the need for the Church's granting forgiveness in the name of a forgiving God. And how strong are the protests against Jesus' teaching and the Church's following up on the sanctity of human life from its conception until its natural ending?

Yes, doubt is linked to faith. Without faith there is no belief and its doubting that leads a person to give up a practice of faith. We cannot forget that faith is never going to be an experience when we are not at one time of another challenged to believe what seems impossible to understand. St. Paul, the man who at one time was such an opponent to the message of Jesus, wrote that "that is the proof of what cannot be seen."

In our times there is a loud cry that can be heard demanding that faith prove itself, failing to realize that once proven, faith would fail to exist. What is seen, what is understood give us knowledge. Two plus two is four. But to understand the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, body and soul, in what appears to be a wheat wafer or a cup of wine is the challenge of faith. As St. Paul also wrote, "faith is the evidence of things unseen." The evidence of things unseen: now here is a true challenge to a believer in our world today.