Saturday, April 11, 2015

04-12-2015 -- 2nd Sunday of Easter, Year B

April 12, 2015 - 2nd Sunday of Easter, Year B
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church




Every year around Easter, news reports and tv specials designed to raise doubts among believers begin to appear.

Programs about the Gospel of Thomas or the Gospel of Judas or reports that Mary Magdalene was Jesus’ wife are advertised.

There is a fascination with the DaVinci Code and the Illuminati.  These are all certainly anti-Catholic and many are even anti-Christian.

They all raise questions and create doubts in believers.  They create uncertainty and fear.

There are oppressive powers of unbelief are at work in our world today.  They may be designed to make us feel good, but they also leave us with our faith shaken.

Somehow we are deceived into believing that it is sinful to question our faith.

Questioning what we believe is how we grow in our knowledge of and love for Jesus Christ.  And greater knowledge of and love for Jesus Christ does not create doubts.

Jesus has the opposite effect. Jesus’ presence removes doubts.

In the Gospel of John there are several stories of journeys from doubt to faith: Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman, the man born blind, Martha and Mary, the sisters of Lazarus, and in today’s gospel, Thomas.

Thomas want to believe.  But, it is not always easy to have faith.  It is not always easy to believe.

Faith in Jesus, faith in the resurrection, may be more challenging than we thought.

Christians feel guilty about having doubts.  But the gospel reminds us that doubt was present right from the beginning, even among the apostles.

Thomas’ doubt was removed by Jesus’ presence.  Notice please, that Jesus is not attempting to shame Thomas.  Jesus is giving Thomas what he needs for faith.  This is what we see him doing in the gospels.  

Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night because he is discreet.  He’s afraid of being a disciple openly.

The Samaritan woman believes despite the cultural differences that tell her she cannot.

The man born blind comes to faith slowly.  It takes him several encounters with Jesus and the chief priests before he believes.

We are like them.  We want to believe but our doubts persist. There are those among us who want us to doubt.  They want us to question our faith.

So let us draw closer to Jesus because Jesus has the opposite effect.

Jesus removes our doubts so that we can cry out like Thomas: my Lord and my God.

3 comments:

  1. Excellent homily!

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  2. Great homily Fr. Rusty. When any Christian Holy Day appears, the TV and news are suddenly chock full of outrageous and inflammatory "religious" history/documentary-style TV shows and news/opinion articles that try to cast doubt. These shows try to establish some sort of credibility by featuring talking heads, "theologians", "experts" in Christian history all accompanied by research and "evidence".

    The impression I get from these shows is that through all the talking, the participants don't believe a word about the subject they are discussing. For example, one can get a doctorate in Classics and be able to discuss all things Greek and Roman mythology in a matter-of-fact way all day long. Do those Doctors accept, believe and live a word of the mythology? Nope.

    The Catholic Church has an authoritative teaching wing, it's called The Magisterium and it has the depositum fidei.

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    Replies
    1. Of course, part of the Magisterium is the "sensum fidei," which includes all of us. It is not as though doctrine and dogma fall down to us from the sky in a nice tidy package. The depositum fidei includes the doubts, struggles, and lived expressions of faith of the faithful. That lived-out expression of the faith is then codified by the Church as a way of articulating what the faithful have already experienced. For example, we don't get the doctrine of Christ's dual nature until after the faithful had experienced Jesus as a human who walked and talked among them, but then also worshiped Jesus as G-d. Because of that sensum fidei, which brings rise to the question, what can we say about this human whom we worship as divine, the Church then spent many years, and even more words, wrestling with what that really meant. The research, evidence, anecdotes, etc. of "theologians" and "experts" and "regular folk" all play a part in that wrestling.

      We cannot, therefore, simply dismiss such discussions, even discussions that entertain doubt, off-hand, as though some monolithic Magisterium, that exists as a separate entity, has objectively sat outside of the discussion and pronounced some edict from on high. Those very discussions, experts, doubts, etc. are part of what make up the depositum fidei on which the Magisterium relies, in part, to inform its teaching authority.

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