Believing and Seeing
The Gospel reading this weekend contains one of the most recognized phrases in the Bible. The infamous “doubting Thomas” must place his fingers in the nail marks on Jesus’ hands and place his hand in the wound on Jesus’ side before he will believe that Christ has risen. Jesus then says to Thomas, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” (John 20:29)
It’s a phrase that brings comfort to Christians today. Jesus compliments us for believing in him even though we cannot put our fingers in the nail marks or place our hands in the wound on his side. Hearing these words makes us feel good that we believe though we have not seen.
But perhaps we shouldn’t be so comforted – so sure of our blessedness. Maybe we’re actually worse than Thomas. Maybe we see Jesus all the time but refuse to recognize him. Or worse yet, maybe we ignore him.
Faith in Action
In the first reading, we learn a bit about the earliest Christians and how they took care of one another. “All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need.” (Acts 2:44-45)
At that time, the people believed that Jesus was coming again very soon. They thought that the second coming could very literally happen any day, so the specific ways in which they lived are not necessarily meant to be exact models for us. We are not expected to sell everything and live in a commune with our fellow parishioners. However, the sentiment behind their actions is very important.
Those first Christian communities took care of all their members. Perhaps they not only remembered some of the lessons Jesus taught, but actually put them into action.
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.'” (Mt 25:42-43)
Look Around and SEE
If we can’t see Jesus, then we’re blind to the world around us. The homeless man on the park bench? That’s him. The drug addict in prison? Him, too. The coworker who is depressed and lonely? Jesus.
Take a good look at the people around you. Who is hurting? Who is in need? Look at their faces – gaze into their eyes. Reach out to them and see the face of Jesus. You’ll be doubly blessed. You will have believed… and then seen!
Who around you is suffering? Can you see the face of Jesus in them?
What do you do to reach out and help others?
Who has reached out and helped you when you were in need?
Original article by Brandon Jubar, 2005 – 2020.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.