02 July 2016

FAITH: A FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE

ST THOMAS
acts 10:24-25; hebrews 1:2-3 or 1 peter 1:3-9; john 20:24-29

close your eyes. imagine the buzz of bungee jumping or the thrill paragliding… not happening, right? if we have never bungee jumped or paraglided, we’d find it almost impossible to imagine the experience! someone may describe the raw excitement of the adventure, but we can feel the buzz only when we experience it first-hand!

what is true of adventure sport is true of life and of faith. faith is not second-hand knowledge. faith is first-hand experience; it comes from an encounter with GOD.


this is the thrust of today’s gospel and solemnity! 
thomas is not with the other apostles when JESUS appears to them. they testify that they have seen the LORD, but thomas refuses to believe: «unless i see… and place my finger… and place my hand… i will not believe.» he is not content with second-hand knowledge. he wants to see JESUS himself; he desires to experience the risen LORD first-hand. 
what brings thomas to belief is not the proof he demanded; thomas does not touch the LORD. he believes after an encounter with the risen JESUS. and this experience leads him to acknowledge JESUS as his personal saviour: «my LORD and my GOD.»

we are like thomas! 
we do not want to learn from others; we want to and have a right to experience life for ourselves. the same should be true of our faith-life. will i be content with a second-hand knowledge of GOD or will i experience the thrill of encountering GOD myself?
when we use our GOD-given intelligence, like thomas, we will have doubts about faith and religion. 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 push aside my unanswered and, perhaps, unasked questions? 

thomas recognized the broken and wounded body of JESUS! may we encounter JESUS first-hand in our woundedness and in the brokenness of others, and proclaim him as our LORD and GOD!