We have all heard that saying, “Seeing is believing.” The gospel for Divine Mercy Sunday epitomizes this statement as St. Thomas tells the other apostles that unless he puts his finger into the nail marks and Jesus’ pierced side, he would not believe. It’s possible that maybe Thomas believed his friends were playing a joke on him. Perhaps that is why Thomas says what he says.
Our faith is all about believing in what we cannot see. St. Paul wrote that we walk by faith and not by sight, and we often sing those words. It’s true. As believers we have to take what we have received and accept it at face value. We believe what is contained in a book of collected writings called the Bible. We believe that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and as he went about his ministry, he taught and healed.
If you need a reminder of what we believe, we recite it in the Creed every weekend at Mass or during the Rosary or Divine Mercy chaplet. We believe that Jesus died on the cross and as we celebrated last weekend, that he rose from the dead. In our lived expression of Catholicism, we give faith to the fact that God hears our prayers, that Jesus is present in the Holy Eucharist, that Jesus forgives our sins through confession, and that the angels and saints in Heaven pray for us.
I’m willing to bet that we might have a little Thomas in all of us. We might have questions like how did that happen, or could that really be? Or we could doubt or even deny certain beliefs. Our doubts can become a path to deeper faith if we deal with them accordingly. The internet affords us many resources for the questions of faith that we have, and we can discover answers. Study can move us from doubt to faith.
We can also use prayer to correct our doubts. If you struggle with believing that Jesus is present in the Eucharist, ask him to increase your faith. If you doubt that your sins have been forgiven, ask Jesus to help you understand, accept and believe that your sins are forgiven.
After seeing Jesus, Thomas believed and exclaimed, “My Lord and my God.” His doubts were removed and arrived at faith in the Risen Jesus.
The second Sunday after Easter is known as Divine Mercy Sunday because a Polish nun received messages from Jesus who requested devotion to His Divine Mercy. Jesus asked for an image to be painted and the words “Jesus, I trust in you” to be written on the bottom. Those simple words can help move us from doubt to faith when we pray them.
Jesus, I trust that you are real, that you love me, that you gave your life for me and that you forgive me. We can’t always see what it is that we believe, but we can pray to believe.
Fr. Looney is the pastor of the Catholic parishes in Brussels and Lincoln/ Rosiere. He is also the author of “A Lenten Journey with Mother Mary.”