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The Journey Toward Belief

"I shall sing forever the Lord's mercy" (Ps 89 [88]).

A reflection from Father Tudgay for the Sunday of Divine Mercy.

As we conclude the Octave of Easter, the eight-day celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the individuals who carry this message forward continue to teach us about this mystery. As the message of the resurrection of Christ continued to spread throughout Galilee, Thomas, one of The Twelve, remained skeptical about the events. Perhaps Thomas presumed that Christ’s body was stolen or that there was some gap in communication. “Doubting Thomas” as he is often called, or, perhaps, “Pragmatic Thomas”, remained unbelieving until his encounter with the Risen Christ, Himself. His acknowledgement, “My Lord, and My God”, express his coming to faith in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Thomas was slow to believe. Maybe we can learn a thing or two about faith from him. 


Doubt and skepticism are one of the remnants of Original Sin. It’s almost like we’re prepared to be disappointed or let down. To expect the worst of any situation is a self-induced emotional inoculation that forms a perspective on life that can often lack the Christian virtue of Hope. Now, if this rings true with any of us, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up too badly… we’re in good company… The Apostles experienced it, too! 


The message about Jesus’ resurrection continued to spread throughout Galilee. Perhaps the skeptics were doubtful. It certainly seems reasonable that Thomas wasn’t alone in his “unbelief”. But as the message of his resurrection continued to spread, so, too, did the multiple accounts of Jesus’ appearance in multiple places to multiple people. Acceptance of Jesus’ resurrection isn’t simply an acknowledgement of a fact of history or that of a historical person. Acceptance of Jesus’ resurrection means a total reorientation of the way that we look at the world and of reality, itself. Suddenly, the difficult things that come our way are no longer the final word on human existence. Any suffering that comes our way, which was certainly the case for Apostles and the early Christians following Pentecost, has a redemptive quality.  


Our progress toward the acceptance of Christian Faith spreads gradually thorough our patterns of thought that have developed from skepticism, heartbreak, and disappointment. As disciples of Jesus Christ, the light that enters the world through the proclamation of the Gospel and the celebration of the Sacraments illuminates our mind, changing our outlook, and proceeding in Hope! Where Lent was the season of conversion, Easter is the Season where we allow the illumination of the Holy Spirit to open the horizons of our soul to engage life with a magnanimity of heart and mind that would not be possible without Christian Faith.  

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