He couldn’t believe it. Thomas, shaking his head in disbelief as the Disciples told their story, they saw Jesus—ALIVE—from the Dead! Thomas had thought it was all over. The tomb had been sealed, and now all is changed. The impossible happened. Jesus was alive.
Their story was too much for him. Thomas, like many of us, needed proof for him in order to believe. He said, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe!” By God’s mercy, Jesus appeared again, with Thomas present, and he too came to belief.
Not all of us have the grace of Thomas, to come face-to-face with the Risen Christ to solidify our belief in Him. We are challenged to believe without seeing, trusting on the words and actions of Jesus recorded in the four Gospels, and on others’ testimony.
Monsignor mentioned in his Easter homily of the sinking of the Titanic, and although no survivors of the disaster are alive today to retell the story, people agree it really occurred. We believe it based on the recorded testimony of the survivors. Like the Titanic, there are many instances we have to trust in the testimony of others. So it is with our belief in the Resurrection of Christ. The Disciples encountered Jesus after his death. We read in the Gospels how difficult it was for even them to believe one another, at first, but then Jesus appeared to more and more, and their united testimony did not waver. It stayed consistent, even under the threat of torture and death.
In 1981, an atheist editor for the Chicago Tribune, Lee Strobel, decided to investigate if Christianity might be true. After two years of investigation, where he looked at medical evidence, physical evidence, and historical evidence, he could only conclude, “I put down my pen…and I realized it would take more faith to maintain my atheism than become a Christian.” Strobel’s investigation, and interviews with believers, hearing their testimonies, lead to his conversion to Christ. And how did his investigation begin? He noted the positive changes in her life that made him begin to wonder if Christianity was true.
Strobel’s wife became a witness of Christ by her life. Her authentic living of her life in Christ made even an ardent athiest consider the possibility of the truth of Christ.
And you? What “proof” are you exhibiting as a Christian that tells others that God is real and His love is true? When we live our faith in a wishy-washy way, others will follow our example, thinking that is all it takes to be a Christian. But Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., in his article How to be an Authentic Catholic, says there is much more to being truly Christian. He says we must:
- Know the Truth (we must come to know truth through listening to scripture, reading about the faith, talking with experienced believers);
- Live the Truth (put your faith into practice; it’s not enough to know it in our heads); and
- Suffer for the Truth (are your willing to pay dearly for your loyalty to Jesus Christ?).
It is by this living our Catholic faith in an authentic way, we become the proof for others that Jesus is worth living and dying for.