How did Thomas first learn about Our Lord’s resurrection? One would assume he heard it through his closest friends, his fellow apostles. But he still found it hard to accept their words. He had to see and touch Jesus for himself. Now, you would think that after three years with these people: living, preaching, and growing in holiness with them, that they would have won his trust by now. But something inside of Thomas still made him sceptical.
In his amazing Encyclical Letter Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason n.32) Pope Saint John Paul II wrote: “In believing, we entrust ourselves to the knowledge acquired by other people”. Despite the sound testimony presented to Thomas, something held him back. And this is the same challenge we face today. Many of us tend to think that faith is individual, personal, and even private; but that goes against God’s desire to have a body of people united to him and to one another and building one another up. This body, the Church, isn’t just a structured institution or a building in which we gather; it’s the place where we meet Jesus Christ in one another. The Church is a community of believers with whom we have the privilege of sharing our lives.
And the Church includes holy men and women like Saint Thomas, the “church triumphant” in heaven whose lives continue to bear witness to Jesus. They’ve experienced the struggle against doubt and are constantly praying for us, the “church militant” who still fight the good fight of faith.
And so we are not alone when we pray; we are not alone when we read the scriptures or preach and teach the Word. God supports and honours everyone who seeks him with a sincere heart. And he promises that the Holy Spirit will guide all of us into the Truth—a Truth that is as big as the Church itself.