II SUNDAY OF EASTER
acts 5:12-16; revelation 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19; john 20:19-31
robert johnson, ex-chairman of johnson & johnson, was known to be a terror when he inspected his plants. on one visit, the plant manager had a fortunate 30-minute tip prior to his arrival. hastily he had things spruced up by ordering several large rolls of paper transported to the roof of the building. when johnson arrived, he was furious. his first words: «what in the hell is all that junk on the roof?» how was the manager to know johnson would arrive in his personal helicopter!
as every home-maker knows, there are no short-cuts to sprucing up a home! it is the same with life and especially with faith. there are no short-cuts to faith! faith comes from a personal experience of GOD, and grows through doubt and difficulty.
this is the thrust of today’s gospel. thomas is absent when JESUS appears to the apostles. and though the others testify that they have seen the LORD, thomas refuses to believe «unless i see… and place my finger… and place my hand.»
thomas will not take a short-cut to faith. he is not content with a second-hand faith. he refuses to say that he can believe in the resurrection when he cannot; and is brave enough to express his doubts (in fact, thomas is no different from the other apostles. the apostles did not believe the testimony of mary magdalene or the «emmaus disciples»; it is only after JESUS appeared to them that they believed! for them, too, there is no short-cut to faith).
eventually, what brings thomas to belief is not the proof he demanded but an experience of the risen JESUS. then he affirms the divinity of JESUS and acknowledges him as his personal saviour: «my LORD and my GOD.»
when we use our GOD-given intelligence, we will have doubts and questions about our faith. like thomas, we need to be honest about our doubts.
will i boldly face and express my doubts, and seek a response to them? or will i be happy with a short-cut to faith? will i be content with a second-hand faith?