Last year there were rumors that the tomb of Jesus was found. The other day some claimed to have found the nails that were used to crucify Christ. More and more news like this surface today and‚ although most of them prove to be untrue‚ the people avidly read them because we‚ even as Christians‚ are not happy anymore with what the Holy Tradition has passed unto us for centuries and we want new proof for everything. We have ceased to believe in the catholicity of the Church‚ in the universal truth shared in the community of the ecclesia for generations and we trust more the intellect of man‚ despite its shortcomings‚ ignoring the divine Sophia‚ the Wisdom of God that the Church upholds
The gospel read in the Sunday following Pascha seems to pinpoints the origin of this trend to the proverbial doubting Thomas‚ but the Apostle Thomas is far from being the first to start this pattern of disbelief that goes back to the very beginning of Man. Adam and Eve were told in paradise that they will “surely die” (Gen 2:17) if they eat from the tree of knowledge‚ but they wanted more proof and‚ without any delay death and corruption became reality for the entire human race. The pharaoh of Egypt did not believe Moses when He told Him that he represents God and he should free the people Israel and he rather preferred to go through all the nine plagues‚ and see his first born die in his arms before getting the point God was making. The people of Israel and Moses himself doubted God could take care of them in the desert and none of them entered in the Promised Land. We can go on with examples‚ but every time man doubted God and trusted rather in himself the outcome was grim.
God never wanted us to believe without proof‚ or obey without explanation‚ that’s why “He performed mighty works by His holy ones who in every generation were well-pleasing to Him‚ He spoke to us through the mouths of His servants the prophets‚ who foretold to us the salvation which was to come” so when we will see the miracles and when the prophecies will be fulfilled we will have no doubt.
Still all proved insufficient‚ and even the apostles‚ the closest people to Christ‚ were not able to see what was in front of their eyes. Despite the miracles they witnessed‚ despite living day and night with the Son of God Himself‚ they all failed to perceive the obvious. Not only Thomas doubted‚ but Peter denied Christ three times and he had to go the tomb to see with his own eyes if the account of the myrrh bearer women was not a tall tale. Luke and Cleopas did not believe the women either and failed to put together the prophecies leading to Christ‚ until their eyes were opened in the breaking of the bread.
Man needs more that his broken rationality and his narrow senses to believe. It is difficult to trust God when your eyes are closed‚ your ears shut‚ and your mouth is filled with the taste of dirt‚ the material world we so much cherish. No heavenly aroma can penetrate through our thick armor of unbelief and human hubris. As long as we believe that man is everything‚ we won’t see God‚ we won’t see His works into the world‚ we will be insensitive to His great love and we will ignore Him like He does not exist.
Nietzsche said: God is dead. Well‚ we killed Him; not only on the cross‚ but in every aspect of our lives. We don’t pray because we don’t have time‚ we can’t greet ourselves as Christians because someone might get upset‚ we don’t come to church because we are involved in other activities‚ mostly entertainment and the list is long. We pursue our petty interests without Him‚ emptying God’s creation of its very Creator despite the gospel’s warning: “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”(Mat 6:3’).
Christ however does not take offense in our ignorance and mistrust. He always calls us‚ as He called Thomas: “Put your finger here‚ and see my hands; and put out your hand‚ and place it in my side; do not be faithless‚ but believing.”(John 20:27) Not blind belief‚ but belief that goes from the mind into the heart‚ belief that comes not only with one proof‚ but with a “cloud of witnesses” (Heb 1’:1) that shout into the world the good news of our redemption in the Resurrection of Christ.
It is time for us to stop demanding proof and ask ourselves‚ what if God doubts me? What do I have as evidence of my allegiance to Him? What are the fruits of my faith? I think we will all discover that trusting God is a much easier job than trusting in Man. God has never failed us‚ God has always acted in our best interest‚ He even heroically sacrificed Himself for us. But Man failed God from the very beginning and even though God has kept every side of His covenant toward mankind‚ Man violated his promise and continues to sin and to forget that he has been bought from death with too precious of a price.
Jesus said to Thomas “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” (John 20:29)‚ but I dare to say:
Believe because we have seen the Risen Lord through the eyes of the Myrrhbearer women.
Believe because we have entered the empty tomb with Peter.
Believe because we have touched his wounds with Thomas’ hand.
Believe because we built our churches on the graves of the Martyrs that died proclaiming the Resurrection.
Believe because we have the Scriptures and His words give life.
Believe because Resurrection is the only truth that matters.
Rejoice in the Truth of the Resurrection‚ don’t split the hair to find a dry secular explanation to the greatest mystery in the history of mankind‚ but believe that Christ is risen and so enter paradise with the wise thief.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!