Study: Reflect back on a time when you experience real doubt and disbelief; was it about good or bad news? How did you work through your doubt to grow in trust and hope?
Pray: Take time this week to pray for faith and trust, especially about situations in your life or in the lives of others that confront doubt.
Serve: Reach out with comfort and support to those who struggle with doubt, particularly in regards to their faith in God. Perhaps you may be the instrument through whom the Holy Spirit will draw others nearer to Jesus Christ.
I am often fascinated by the ways that people handle good news. In particular, I am amazed at those moments when individuals are informed or confronted by a situation that is truly delightful.
Some folks begin to stammer and stutter; others cannot speak at all. Some giggle; others cry; and still others start to babble in sounds that have never been formulated before on this planet.
Yet while some people embrace their good news, others react differently. These are the skeptics; they are looking for the “real side” of the story. They do not trust the situation, but are trying to find out what is really behind all the smoke and mirrors. They refuse to accept what they have seen.
The response is natural and often happens. Confronted by good news, there are times when people hesitate to believe. Experience or cynicism has left them with doubt – closing them from the possibility that fortune has blessed them.
This scenario is found in the Gospel today. Thomas, who is not present when Jesus first appears to the disciples, scoffs at their claim that they have seen the Lord. He makes his well known statement:
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
His doubt is strong: until he SEES and TOUCHES the Lord, he will not accept the news about Jesus. He will not believe.
Yet Jesus comes back a second time, inviting Thomas to see and touch and believe. The Lord’s appearance moves Thomas to make his claim of faith calling Jesus both Lord and God. While he is no longer doubtful, Jesus gently chides him that he needed sight to confirm his belief.
We journey through this life with the good news of Jesus Christ, whose resurrection gives us all the hope of eternal life. Yet there are times when we can become like Thomas, doubting the truth of our faith and asking for signs of God’s presence.
May we see in Thomas an example of the Lord’s unrelenting love. Just as Jesus responded to his doubt, may we come to the Lord in our weakness and seek hope and faith in our need. May we trust that the Lord will renew us with the faith of Thomas.