Faith Does Not Cancel Doubt
2nd Sunday of Easter, Cycle All

It is the Sunday after Easter and the focus has shifted from the risen Jesus to the doubting Thomas. But Thomas, though perhaps a little more stubborn than the rest was by no means the only doubter within Jesus' close circle.

Mary Magdalene first went to the tomb to claim Jesus' body, not to witness his resurrection. All of the apostles with the possible exception of the young John gave every indication that, in spite of Jesus' reassurances of what was to come they did not expect him to literally rise from the dead, glorified and renewed for all eternity.

Thomas might well have been the last of the twelve to believe but he was certainly not the first to doubt.

Jesus, after his resurrection, often chided them all with the words: "you of little faith."

"Faith" in this context, meant taking Jesus word for his resurrection before and after it took place, no matter how incredible it seemed to be.

Remember that they all knew about Lazarus but of him Jesus said, "He is not dead but asleep." It might have been a figure of speech but he never suggested that it applied, in any way, to his own exiting the tomb. There was clearly a major difference.

However, all of that having been said, we must admit that it would have been very hard for them to have believed that Jesus had literally risen from the dead.

Jesus fully understood this and so over the following 35 or 40 days He would concentrate on strengthening their faith so as to counterbalance the doubt that would be their constant companion.

Just as it remains ours!

In the Afterlife we will have no need for faith because we will at last be free from doubt.

In the meantime, here on earth, faith does not cancel doubt. Rather, faith co-exists with doubt and in calmer, saner, more balanced moments enables us to re-focus and regain that inner peace that is Jesus' gift to each of us.

This experience of re-focusing and regaining is familiar to most of us, if not all of us, but in varying degrees. Some basic elements of our Catholic Faith are hard to believe in times of extreme stress or grief.

In fact events can be such as to temporarily overwhelm our faith.

Remember the Roman centurion in the Gospel who was growing closer and closer to Jesus and then his little girl became desperately ill? "Lord, he cried through his tears ...Lord I do believe, but help me in my unbelief!"

He was one of us!

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