Acts 5:12-16; Rev 1:9-11,12-13,17-19; John 20:19-31
“To se is to believe” goes out a worn out saying. This ‘show me first’ attitude can also be a cruel saying, for it implies a practical hard-headedness and a lack of trust in another.
It is like criminal cases in the court. An accused before he/she is to be convicted, he/she has to be proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Facts and evidences are to be presented by the prosecution which led to his/her conviction.
“Who said that I don’t have faith? I have faith but…” Well, if there is a word ‘but’ towards the end of our statement, then, this shows that we lack faith and trust. “I will serve the church, I want to become a catechist, a lay cooperator but let me first do this…” This shows again that we lack faith and trust in God.
Blaise Pascal, a French philosopher, proposed an argument designed to encourage people to believe in God. He called it the “Wager Argument”. “If I believe in God and there is no God, I lose nothing. If I don’t believe in God and there is God, I lose everything.”
Pascal was the proponent of the mathematical theory of probability. Whatever that may be, the point here is that our faith cannot be equated with probability. Probability I think is a kind of proposal that would be proven later as it is experimented.
Faith is different. For example, if my mother tells me she loves me, I really believe her. I do not question it. This is a matter of certitude. I am certain because I love her and she loves me.
The Second Sunday of Easter is called the day of the ‘Doubting Thomas.’ The gospel is about Thomas who doubts that the Lord is raised from the dead. He manifested a lack of trust. And because of his doubt, the term ‘doubting Thomas’ was coined to describe all doubters and skeptics and even pessimists. But it’s good to doubt sometimes because one saying have this: “Doubt is the key of knowledge.” Those who inquire without hesitation learn best.
We can also learn from Thomas about his being doubtful. At least he was honest that he did not understand what was happening. He was just sincere he was not jack-of-all-trade. Unlike us, we show that we know and yet we are not.
Jesus in today’s gospel refers to His friends who were not present, saying: “Blessed are they who have not seen and yet believe,” (v. 29). In other words, those who have faith in Him just like us are blessed indeed.
After doing my research on the meaning of faith, I had found the following definitions. According to the Merriam-Webster Pocket Dictionary, faith is defined as, “a complete trust and confidence in some person or thing. For example, by allowing an unknown person who is a pilot to fly us for thousand miles over mountains and seas in an airplane, without questioning his educational background or capacity or credibility and that is faith.
Vatican I Council had a very complicated definition of faith – It is a supernatural virtue by which we believe not because of the intrinsic truth of things, but because of the authority of God who tells us they were true.
Council of Trent said that faith is absolutely necessary for salvation. Without faith, we cannot please God.
The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) also tells something about faith that faith is our positive response to this call of Jesus. It is a personal acceptance of the person of Christ as Lord and Savior (no. 64). It is a gift of God. No one can come to Jesus unless the father draws him (no. 68). It must be an informed and communitarian faith (nos. 65-66). A missionary and maturing faith (nos. 67-68) and an inculturated faith 9nos. 72-73)
But St. Paul gave a very good definition also about faith in his letter to the Romans: “faith is when we don’t have any evidence but we still believe.” For example, out of 100 items in every quiz of Algebra, I got only 55, 42, 35 and 28 in all four quizzes but I still believe I can pass the Algebra subject that is faith. It is foolish but it is faith. Another one, when Max Alvarado in front of the mirror says: “What a handsome person.” That is still faith because there is a little evidence in the mirror to substantiate his claim.
This faith must bear fruit. St. Paul said: “The only thing that counts is faith active in love,” (Gal 5:6). St. James also said: “Faith without work is dead,“ (Jas 4:17). Always remember, faith is always faith in a person and not in a thing. It is because the person makes faith work and not the thing. Faith and work must go together.
The story is told about a huge inter-ocean liner that was traveling from New York to Spain and a tragedy happened. The ship hit a huge iceberg which caused it to tilt as water rapidly collected in its gaping hole.
To rescue the passengers, lifeboat was launched and every lifeboat contained only 20 passengers. If there would an extra, the lifeboat would sink.
Unfortunately, in one lifeboat there were 23 passengers, so an extra of three. Now, if three passengers would not volunteer to jump out from the lifeboat, everybody would sink and die.
After a moment of suspense, one aged American raised his hands and shouted: “Long live America!” He jumped into the water and was eaten by the sharks.
After some moments, a Spaniard stood up, raised his right arm and proudly shouted: “Viva EspaÑa!” he too dived into the water and was feasted by the sharks again.
A Filipino also stood up. Proudly professing that he was a devout Catholic coming from the only Christian country in Asia. He too raised his right arm and shouted: “Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!” Then, he pushed a Singaporean into the water.
Pious language is cheap. The test of faith is not words but deeds. Without faith, we cannot love either God or other people. Without love, life is not worth living.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle C