Christ is risen!
We have just passed the Sunday after Easter Sunday. This Sunday has taken on many names in the liturgical year: Low Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday, the Sunday of St. Thomas. In both the Eastern and Western Church, the Gospel reading is from St. John, where he relates that the disciple Thomas would not believe that Jesus had appeared to the other disciples unless he could touch Jesus for himself. As St. John relates (Jn 20:19-31), the following Sunday
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
This event is why we call this so-human disciple "Doubting Thomas."
The cover of the reading packet for the Faith and Reason Summer Program has a famous painting that depicts this encounter between Thomas and Jesus. There is an odd tension here for anyone sensitive to faith and reason: on the one hand, Thomas is a saint and thus worthy of our imitation; on the other hand, Jesus tells Thomas that those who believe without needing physical proof are blessed. So, if we imitate Thomas we may get into Heaven, but this is the harder way!
What most struck me this time when hearing this Gospel is the concluding passages:
Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
St. John makes explicit here that even the disciples (or at least one of them) initially would not believe in Christ's Resurrection despite the fact that he had lived with Jesus. We, who don't dare to put ourselves on the level of the disciples, are asked to believe despite the fact that we did not meet Jesus on the flesh nor see Him in His Resurrected state! Much is being asked of us!
I suppose this is where a healthy relationship between faith and reason comes in: faith is not "turning off" one's mind and believing blindly; yet, true reason must embrace faith even when faith cannot offer proof. Faith without reason lacks understanding; reason without faith is blind....